Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Videoconferencing in K12 Education

One of the most promising applications for Videoconferencing technology is in the classroom. Many teachers may already know this but there are many out there who haven't had the opportunity to even see how videoconferencing works, let alone given the opportunity to deploy it in their classrooms. As with many new things, the main barrier to entry is the cost. With current day videoconferencing systems costing in the 5 digits minimum, how does a school implement such technologies?

Right now there isn't a great answer. Sure, classrooms can use free services such as Skype or Google Video Chat, but those technologies are meant to be used on a "one to one" basis over two personal computers. To get the full experience of videoconferencing, a classroom needs to have a room based system with wide angle cameras that Pan, Tilt & Zoom, and dual monitors. One monitor for showing the other end of the call (the people you are talking to) and another screen for seeing the local end (you) or possible content being shared like computer screens.

MediaLogix helped put together an exhibit for the National Middle School Conference last year in Denver. The work we did there was "Pro bono" and for the benefit of introducing both teachers & students to technologies such as Videoconferencing. Tandberg joined us in displaying their videoconferencing technology and during the 4 day conference students were able to communicate with classrooms across the nation and even receive instruction from teachers in other locations!
I'm sure that as these and other technologies improve over the next few years that we will see more and more videoconferencing starting to take place in the classroom. MediaLogix is excited to be a part of it all and will continue to put a huge focus on "educating" the education community on the benefits of Videoconferencing for the classroom!

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