Video Conferencing: Taking Classrooms beyond Four Walls

In 2012, 125 high school students in the US spent the night at school for a 4am video conference with students in Nazareth, Israel. Today, video conferencing is used by students to work on projects with others in distant countries. With the speed of the Internet increasing over the last ten years and the cool gadgets that have evolved during this time, schools are finding creative ways of bringing their students virtually together.

Video conferencing can enhance the students’ educational experience in numerous ways. Video conferencing can be used to connect with students around the UK and the world to bring service, history, geography and religion learning to vibrancy.

However, how does a video conferencing system work for students? Below are five ways through which schools are using video conferencing to expand their classrooms beyond the conventional four walls.

Connecting with the Professionals

Video conferencing systems allow students, age 10 and above, to begin the development of critical business skills and awareness of global issues. Through the technology, students have the chance to talk with professionals in a face-to-face and real-time environment.

Some schools have even developed distance learning modules that allow their students to discuss the importance of reading and writing. Some schools programs request content from the experts in certain study areas. For example, if your class is particularly weak when it comes to writing, your students may benefit from a one-on-one video conference session with a famous author their own age. This is likely to inspire your students to write more and try to be better.

The content providers you choose for your students could be learning centres, non-profit organisations, or individuals.


Students in a classroom in Birmingham can connect with another classroom in London, and they can work on a collaborative study activity. In the past, such collaborative efforts were limited to a single classroom or school, video conferencing technology has given students in many schools all over the world to work together on issues that matter.

A great benefit of this collaboration is that you will get diverse, fresh views and ideas from students who are miles away, than from an individual you have known all your life. The Centre for Interactive Learning and Collaboration has created a different section that is wholly dedicated to collaborative efforts for students and teachers.

Some collaborative efforts may include typical work for a practical goal (such as cleaning up rivers), which help the students develop their leadership, organisational, and collaborative skills.

Teaching of Teachers

Learning is a never-ending process for teachers, and they must acquire the skill necessary for professional development. Video conferencing offers teachers a means of learning more without having to take on work breaks. As a plus, the students can also learn from the teacher’s professional development – for example, assessing teacher performance while students looked on.

Connecting to Virtual Field Trips

Typical school trips require preparation – food, transportation, how to deal with cheeky students, and ensuring you do not lose anyone. It is much harder for a student to wander off during a field trip held on a screen in your classroom.

Whether you are visiting a zoo or museum, virtual field trips are becoming common place with video conferencing systems in schools. According to the Scholastic Instructor magazine, an American school district offered its students the chance to view a Montserrat, a Caribbean island, volcano.

According to the magazine article, the students were in the unique position to view live data on the lava flow and evacuation progress, while the mission commander interacted with the students. The video conferencing class displayed video clips of the ash clouds over the island while sending data and information on seismic activity to the students’ laptops. According to an instructional coordinator, video conferencing has made education exciting.

Accessing Courses

Schools in rural areas may not be in a position to offer detailed or advanced courses that their students require. Even those in the more populated areas many times lack niche teachers. Such schools can benefit from having the extra course taught over distance learning. Instead of teachers having to move long distances to teach, they are able to instruct your students via video conferencing.

Furthermore, some courses that were previously unavailable can mean great content for your class. You may have dissected millions of frogs, but how many times have you heard to view a live knee replacement surgery in your science class? With Video conferencing, you can give your students unparalleled access to scenarios they would only have dreamt of seeing in the past.

The Final Take

Although these are school solutions, do you know that you can apply most of them in your business as well? If you need to connect with experts, why not set up a Polycom video conferencing BlueJeans session with consultants without having to fly them in instead?

For companies with offices all over the world, connecting them with video conferencing systems instead of having them spend on flight tickets is a viable option. You can also connect to a certain market that was unattainable while providing professional development to your new employees. The verdict is – video conferencing helps break the boundaries between the classroom and the world outside.

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