Wednesday

The Extreme Importance of Video Conferencing in Education in Covid-19 Era


Tele everything is the buzz word right now during this Covid-19 era when social distancing and lockdown have disrupted routine schedules of just about everyone, including students. Worse than that, their future is at stake, especially for those studying in the 10th-12th standards, those appearing for competitive exams and those in the final year of the graduation or post-graduation. There is no saying for how long this situation will last. Education cannot be at a standstill. Video conferencing solution is the perfect answer to keep the education sector moving along.


Video permits interactive learning


Video conferencing solutions have all the features that permit interaction. Distance makes no difference. A teacher can:


  • Schedule a class and send out a notification to all students

  • Conduct a roll call

  • Start the session and appear on the screens of all students

  • Make use of whiteboard during the class, show video within the video

  • Respond to individual queries by students who can do so by “raising hands”

  • Record the entire session for review or rebroadcast

  • Call out a student the same way they would do in a classroom and ask a question and explain a point again if the student has not understood it

  • Conduct a test if so required

Adhering to a routine


Children and even college students must have discipline and must adhere to the routine of attending classes. The extended lockdown can create a false holiday atmosphere and students could possibly neglect studies because there is no compulsion to attend class. They lose self-discipline that comes from regular routine of studies. Once classes restart it becomes difficult for the students to pick up from where they left off.


This adherence to routine is even more important for students at a critical stage such as those in the 10th/12th standard where their performance will dictate their future. No slackening in studies is desirable. The conferencing solution ensures continuity of the routine but in a different way since students know they must get up, get ready, and join the online classes at a scheduled time.


Take the case of Rajiv Sharma studying in the 12th standard science stream. His admission to a quality recognized college depends on his performance in the exam and performance depends on a dedicatedly rigorous study of an extended curriculum. Studies through video conferencing solutions assure continuity and chances of success for Rajiv.


Studies through conferencing assure steady revenue streams


Larger educational institutions can make it mandatory for parents to pay fees whether classes are conducted or not. It is not fair to students. If they decide not to charge fees then they face a cash crunch since such institutions have to pay salaries to employees.  Then there are thousands of individuals who conduct coaching classes. They will not get paid if they do not teach. Importantly, they have a responsibility for students attending their coaching classes.


Geeta Pillai is a prime example. She conducts coaching classes for maths for 10th and 12th standard students. The lockdown has put an end to her activities and the future is a question mark. If she were to adopt a conferencing solution she can easily teach her existing batch and also keep classes running for future batches. Even better, she can draw in more students from a wider geographic area. She can look forward to more revenues in Covid-19.


KGI is a small private college offering degree courses in commerce and arts streams. Conferencing comes as a godsend since their entire future existence is at stake. Shifting to the conferencing system of education could even help them reduce costs, make better use of premises and reach out to more students, and earn more revenues post Covid-19.


Conferencing assures safety


The coronavirus is unique. Carriers may show no symptoms but those who are infected may face a grave threat. Even after the pandemic subsides this question mark exists and parents will not like to send students to school or college where they may contract an infection and then spread it at home and in the neighborhood. No one would want that risk, least of all educational institutions that will then have to bear the blame or legal action. The conferencing solution permits classes to continue and students can attend from the safe confines of their home.


Studying from home also reduces the risk of infection during commuting. Students also save time and effort it takes to reach schools and colleges. Priya is a case in point. She could get admission only in a college at the other end of the city. She has to walk and change buses, a process that takes two hours. With remote studies through conferencing, she saves that much valuable time each day. Students are less exposed to pollution in the air and that is a good thing from the health perspective. Commuting can cause stress which is one thing they are freed of when they study through remote conferencing and Telepresence.


Adapting to the future


Like it or not video conferencing is the future for interactions of all kinds ranging from governance to administration to studies to business. It is different from personal interaction and calls for a different mindset and discipline. Video conferencing in education helps students get familiar and make it a way of life to get things done.


It is for educators, whether they run coaching classes or regular schools or colleges or universities to pick the best video conferencing solution and get started right now.