Video conferencing is a live real time, audio and visual connection between two or more people in different locations. In more technical terms, it provides a transmission of full-motion video images and high-quality audio between multiple locations. The basic necessary prerequisite equipment required is a high-speed broadband internet connection, a webcam that provides video input and a microphone that provide audio input. Video conferences can be conducted with an individual’s laptop or a smartphone that is equipped with a camera and microphone.
This technology increases convenience for all parties involved, it saves time, expenses and hassle. Video conferencing is commonly used for business meetings, interviews and education. In the context of education, school lessons are conducted within the four walls of a classroom or lecture theatre. E-learning week usually consists of disseminated powerpoint slides and assignments to be submitted by a certain timing.
With the advancement of technologies, education can greatly benefit from utilising video conferencing as an educational tool. Although there will be technological limitations such as lag time and participants require good internet connection, the advantages vastly outweigh the disadvantages.
If you want to know more on how video conferencing can help impact education positively, look no further as HeyHi could be the solution for you!
What is HeyHi?
HeyHi is a video conferencing application that is built specifically for collaborative work and learning. It is available on both GooglePlay and the App Store, allowing you to take your education on the go with your smartphone mobile device. Out of the many amazing features that will be elaborated further in the article, its main feature that stands out among other video conferencing applications is our interactive whiteboard. The interactive whiteboard allows you to write and draw on the unlimited writing space with multiple screens for all participants to see. This feature is especially useful for educators and students as they can process the materials in real time while the teachers are drawing or writing the information out.
Video conferencing can be a very effective and powerful tool that can bring education to greater heights, especially with the right features. Here are 6 reasons on how video conferencing can impact education.
1. Convenience of no walls
The biggest advantage of video conferencing is classes are no longer confined by the four walls of a physical classroom. This will enable educational institutions to not be limited by factors such as location, time and money. Classes can be held over video conferencing, which allows students and educators to remove the need for physical travelling and other unforeseen circumstances like delays from heavy traffic. Students can also be virtually present for class through video conferencing even if they are sick at home or are going to be late for school. In some complicated situations such as needing to care for an elderly relative, the student may not be able to attend school for a period of time. With video conferencing, the student will not need to put his/her education on hold, as lessons can be attended from home. This ensures that students do not miss out on important classes just because they cannot be physically present.
2. Eliminates personal interaction
As effective as video conferencing is, one of the main disadvantages is the lack of personal interaction. Body language, facial expressions and hand gestures are important aspects when it comes to education. These cues may be missed out when a participant experiences pixelated images or stuttering videos when there is poor internet connection. When communicating, 55% of our understanding comes from reading body language and video conferencing will not be able to capture real live communication. This drawback can be easily offset by looking directly into the camera or an occasional hand gesture to show interest. This may be a big deterrent when educational facilities are considering the adoption of video conferencing as the lack of personal interaction may lead to a drop in interaction. You could compare it to watching the news on television where you are receiving information through a screen. However with the right video conferencing system, this problem can be overcomed.
HeyHi’s video conferencing interface has multiple features that ensures a high level of interaction between students and educators. With a high level of engagement during the lesson, students are able to absorb the information faster and maintain interest in the topics. The interactive whiteboard feature allows teachers and students to write and draw on the unlimited space on the screen. This application is also accessible via any mobile device. Students and educators do not need to purchase an expensive stylus or a touch screen tablet just to participate in class as your mobile phone can be used as your writing pad. On HeyHi, you can upload your own library of content and materials for ease of use. The screen sharing function allows teachers to conduct class very similarly to how they would in a classroom environment, with slides and videos. This function now allows students to share their screens with the class as well, like they would if there was an in-class presentation. Text chat and live polling functions are also included in the video conferencing interface to enhance interaction and engagement levels of each session.
3. Out of class learning
A big benefit of video conferencing on education is the ability to invite experts and guest lectures to impart their knowledge on students and teachers without the hassle and cost of aligning schedules and flying them into the country. These experts usually have very busy and packed schedules, which makes it difficult for them to have spare time for educational facilities all over the world that are requesting for their presence. Video conferencing not only saves time and money for travel, it also expands the outreach on a global scale. The possibilities are endless when you are equipped with such technologies. Did you know that you can request for a NASA astronaut to make an appearance via video conferencing? Students are also able to take virtual trips around the world without involving expensive flights and hassle of arranging accommodation with endless paperworks. For example, the students of Mt. Lebanon School District in Mashable took a virtual trip to a volcano on the island of Montserrat in the Carribean. The trip for all the students would have been extremely costly and dangerous but with video conferencing, a specialist located on the island brought all the students to take an in-depth look at the volcano from their classroom.
Studies have shown that video conference interactions across cultural borders will help students to develop a greater awareness and tolerance between disparity groups. Students will be exposed to many different cultures and forms of education which will add value to the learning process as well and “travel” the world from the comfort of their classroom or home.
4. Encourage self paced learning
Have you been in a four-hour lecture? In my personal experience, long lectures packed to the brim with new topics and information can be very mentally exhausting and difficult to follow. Most of the time students lose focus for a short while and they end up very lost as they are unable to catch up on what they have missed out. Having to borrow written notes from other students can be a hassle and also be inaccurate information. With video conferencing, students can record down the lecture on their own devices and play them back at their own pace. This is especially useful when it comes to revision or looking back at parts of the lecture they have missed out.
With video conferencing, educators and students can hold one-on-one or small group mentoring sessions for those students who may need extra help understanding the subjects. This makes it easier for educators to get “face-to-face” time with each student without taking time from a school day.
Video conferencing can aid students in self paced learning and help those who are slower at understanding the syllabus. Some education programmes like a part time study course will also be greatly benefitted with video conferencing. Many of these part time students are professionals or stay-at-home parents who have a tough time fitting in education into their busy schedules. Video conferencing to them means that education can now be scheduled according to their own pace. This gives all students the ability to take full advantage of the learning opportunities.
5. Aids in as an administrative tool
Video conferencing does not limit between students and teachers, schools can take advantage of the system by hosting parent teacher conferences through the screen. Research shows that a strong parent teacher relationship will positively impact the child’s school performance. Parents with busy schedules will no longer feel the stress of missing out on meet-the-parents sessions due to work or personal reasons and teachers can stay in touch with parents at regular intervals through video conferencing.
The video conferencing interface can also be used for training sessions for teaching and non-teaching staff as well. This removes the need for a school to find a substitute teacher when another teacher goes out on a training course. Productivity of the school educators will increase drastically as teachers and staff can easily hold virtual meetings to discuss problems or share ideas.
While an average class size may be 30 – 40 students, educators may find it a hassle to manually count the students present online for each lesson. Another feature that HeyHi has that will ease administrative duties of educators is an attendance check system. This ensures that all participating students, up to 50 participants, are automatically accounted for as well as how long they have paid attention to the online class. Educators and participating students will be aware of their online behavior as it also counts the number of times a participant has exited the video conference class.
6. Cost of setting up a video conferencing system
Although it is true that video conferencing can save a lot of cost on traveling or operational expenses, purchasing a video conferencing system that can meet your educational needs may turn out to be more expensive. Costs such as customised software, regular maintenance, training and special programs will lead to additional costs required to run the video conferencing software as part of the education program.
The good news is HeyHi’s video conferencing platform is made exclusively for educators and students! We have very affordable packages for schools and educators – contact us to know more. In addition, educational facilities and schools will also be able to customise the HeyHi platform to suit their own educational needs.
Here is a short recap on the features that HeyHi has to offer in comparison to other video conferencing applications.
Here is a short and simple step-by-step tutorial on how to use HeyHi.
If you would like to try it out, you can request for a free demo or sign-up to get a better understanding of how this application can help your school and education. Do contact us if there is anything we can help you with!