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How to use video conferencing in the classroom

The future of learning lies in video conferencing - here are just some examples of how you can use it to deliver personalised learning experiences

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Video conferencing lets educators bring the world into their classrooms, helping to create inspiring, interconnected learning experiences. And, with global online collaboration predicted to be one of the most significant trends in educational technology today, if you are not already using video to support learning, you soon will be.

There is an increasing focus on global online collaboration, with digital tools used to support interactions around curricular objectives and promote intercultural understanding.
NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2016

The benefits of using video conferencing in the classroom

But it’s not just about using external resources. Video conferencing can also be used to create flipped classrooms, support teachers, and deliver a more personalised learning experience for pupils.

Connect with experts

Video can be used to bring experts into the classroom quickly and easily. Scientists can deliver lessons from their labs and business leaders from the boardroom. In fact, the range of experts and content providers is endless. Such face-to-face time doesn’t just help to develop communication skills, it also adds value and relevancy to lessons, and instills a deeper awareness of global issues.

Help students prepare for the world of work

Mobile and remote working practices are becoming increasingly commonplace, with video conferencing now an essential communications tool. By bringing video conferencing into the classroom, teachers can familiarise pupils with this tech and get them ready for the workplace

Go on virtual field trips

School trips give students hands-on experiences, and through video conferencing, teachers can provide exposure to this style of learning from the comfort of the classroom. Students can visit world-renowned museums, or find out more about the House of Commons; without having to worry about finding additional funds.

Boost global collaboration

Today we live in an increasingly global society, so it’s vital that teachers instil students with an appreciation and understanding of the world around them. Video conferencing lets schools connect with classrooms all over the world, helping to break down cultural barriers. Students in different parts of the world can also use video conferencing to work collaboratively on a joint activity. Here again, this helps to provide a different perspective and helps pupils to understand varied cultural approaches and outlooks.

Increase engagement

Keeping people of any age interested can be difficult, but just look at these stats:

  • YouTube has over a billion users, almost one-third of total internet users
  • More than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube each day
  • 87% of online marketers use video content
  • Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.

So video in itself is prepossessing, and there is strong evidence that the use of video can inspire and engage pupils when incorporated into student-centred learning activities. So, when it comes to a medium for capturing hearts and minds, it’s hard to beat.

Create a flipped classroom

Flipped learning is helping to deliver a more personalised learning experience for pupils, and to facilitate this pedagogical method, video conferencing technologies are a must. With flipped learning, video sessions can be recorded for students to watch in their own time, before undertaking corresponding tasks in school hours with the teacher on hand. This approach lets students access learning material whenever best suits their individual needs and maximises the value of quality classroom time. Ultimately, video conferencing removes the barriers of the traditional classroom. Instead, learning can be accessed from anywhere. Find out more about why flipped learning is so popular in schools.

Save valuable time

Video conferencing brings a range of administrative and time-saving benefits to teachers. For example, parent-teacher conferences can be done online, helping to minimise scheduling conflicts, teacher meetings can be recorded and made available to staff who can’t attend on the day, and even assemblies can be delivered directly to the classroom via tech such as ActivPanels, reducing the time needed to move children to and from school halls.

Share resources

The more we communicate via video conferencing and online chatting, the more online learning networks we create. As well as using these communities to help children to cooperate with each other, teachers will also develop collaborations and be able to share resources.

How teachers are already using video conferencing in the classroom

Here are just some examples of how you can use video conferencing in your classroom:

  • Visit an active volcano. With Operation Montserrat, live video and pre-recorded clips are used to create a field trip unlike any other. Seismic data is even sent directly to students laptops to bring a real-life crisis into the heart of the classroom.
  • Play games. For example, Mystery Skype is a global guessing game that helps younger pupils to learn about geography, culture, and the similarities and differences of how children live all over the world.
  • Deliver lessons to other schools. Year six pupils from Churchfields Junior School in the UK ran their own project during the Rio Olympic Games to help teach English to Brazilian children via video.
  • Create common assessments. Rather than having your pupils present to you, create a group project and get them to video conference a partner class with their findings. Each class can then evaluate the others work based on an agreed framework.
  • Create a review session. Establish a virtual review session where students can log in and ask for help with ongoing work. This could be a one-off for larger assignments or a regular weekly evening slot.

How are you using video conferencing in your classroom? Tell us on Twitter!

When it comes to video conferencing technology, the education sector could benefit from reduced costs, a more efficient use of time, and increased collaboration between students and teachers; all while taking learning beyond the classroom.

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