March 13, 2013

Article

Various video communication tools take off in classrooms

The integration of new kinds of technology into the classroom has come slowly. Much of this innovation has been driven by bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs that teachers and students push themselves or integrate into regular learning practices on a class-to-class basis. Those who make use of these innovative solutions have found a broader, more informative world of video communication and other online resources to tap into, all accessible through handheld tools they already own.

Engineering and Technology Magazine reported that teachers are finding ways of adding QR codes and online video to everyday teaching practices. The addition of these services is creating a better-informed student body at every level of the academic spectrum, from public school children in lower grades to colleges and university settings. This is still an emerging trend, however, according to the source.

The majority of schools still run on textbooks and paper, though many are transitioning to laptops and tablets. Children may soon be able to attend classes via their devices without having to go to a centralized school, but more realistically, emailing assignments and tests will likely be a welcome addition to reducing the amount of cumbersome paperwork that has always been associated with academic institutions.

Stretching video communication limitations
Schools of all kinds are enjoying greater use of video communication and streaming media than ever before, especially colleges and universities. InformationWeek wrote that these institutions are finding new and diverse ways of integrating video and other media than they did previously, prompting dramatic increases in bandwidth capabilities and boosting other network capabilities to handle the heightened demand.

“About 40 percent of your traffic is overhead chatter,” said Jimmy Ray Purser of Cisco. He told InformationWeek that the trick with educational centers that use large numbers of devices and require more connectivity is to harness optimization tools and streamline the media management process. Being able to simultaneously stream the same video communication to a number of computers and mobile devices – for example, in a specific classroom – can allow for localized delivery that doesn’t over-tax the infrastructure.

As video communication tools become prevalent in academic settings, administrators and IT professionals will need to find better ways of delivering content. The shift toward increased media usage in the classroom has already begun, and institutions that wait on adoption could find themselves struggling to give students and faculty access to the tools they need to remain cutting-edge.