Videoconferencing Technology Use in Education

Introduction

Education remains one of the key functions of every successful society. The current changes in the world of technology have influenced different fields such as health, education, and politics. In the learning environment, the use of modern technologies has become a new wave capable of transforming the experiences of many students. Bennett (2016) believes strongly that the nature of the traditional classroom is changing very fast. The use of technology continues to cause excitement in different learning institutions. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the scholarly body of information surrounding videoconferencing.

Videoconferencing

Videoconferencing has become a common practice in many parts of the globe. This modern practice is supported by “a set of technologies that allow people to communicate simultaneously through audio and video transmissions” (Milner, Lemon-Leverenz, & Powell, 2015, p. 12). The technology relies on real-time compression of video and audio streams (Ziemna et al., 2016). Modems are used to facilitate the conferencing process. The individuals involved in the process should have both video and audio devices. A computer is needed to tie together the major components required throughout the process.

Videoconferencing Systems Contribution

Modern videoconferencing applications are currently making it easier for people to have simultaneous conferences. This process is known as “a Multipoint Control Unit” (Alhassan, 2016, p. 182). The approach interconnects individuals from several locations. Hardware and software systems are usually required in order to support the videoconferencing process. The process is usually governed by the standards outlined by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

The videoconferencing system’s contribution is something that has been embraced by many people. The effective use of the systems makes it easier for individuals to benefit from this technology (Ziemna et al., 2016). The current hypothesis is that videoconferencing technology will transform the performance of educational and healthcare institutions.

Innovative Applications of Videoconferencing Technology

Many technology companies have been on the frontline to produce modern systems that can transform people’s experiences. Videoconferencing technology is one of these innovations that have changed the manner in which various activities are completed globally. Education continues to evolve every single day (Bennett, 2016). Many educators are required to address the diverse needs of many students. With the lifestyles and career patterns of many people changing frequently, videoconferencing has been applied innovatively to the education sector. Videoconferencing technologies have therefore become vital elements in the classroom setting. The technology promotes distance learning whereby learners in different parts of the world can acquire adequate and timely educational competencies.

Videoconferencing is also being used in the educator sector to deliver practical skills to learners. Educators can demonstrate various activities and procedures to their learners. The students can also save the videos and watch them later. This innovative approach is transforming the learning process across the world. Teachers who have many learners from different regions can use the multipoint control unit (MCU) to educate them simultaneously through videoconferencing. These innovative applications are supporting the educational goals of many learners (Bennett, 2016). Similarly, videoconferencing is becoming appropriate in different fields such as surgery, medical practice education, and business operations.

Innovative Applications of Another Technology

Mobile learning is another technology that continues to meet most of the needs targeted by videoconferencing systems technology. Mobile learning has become a common practice whereby learning institutions have been able to deliver quality educational content to different students. The availability of smartphones has made mobile learning in different parts of the world possible (Alhassan, 2016). Teachers have been focusing on innovative approaches that can be used to deliver learning instructions and teaching materials to more students. The learner community is embracing the use of mobile devices towards improving the quality of education.

Pioneers in the education sector have been redesigning and developing new materials that can be supported by handheld devices. Consequently, more individuals are able to receive quality instructions from their teachers. The use of mobile devices is also expected to transform the sector in the future. The outstanding innovative aspect associated with mobile learning is that it ensures reading materials, videos, and publications are available to the student (Kearns, 2016). Increased readiness and interest among learners will, therefore, address the unique barriers affecting mobile learning.

Videoconferencing Technology from a Systems Perspective

Videoconferencing systems are packaged into powerful equipment capable of relying on audios and videos simultaneously (Pandolfini, 2016). The system is a console characterized by cameras and computers in order to support the conferencing process. The systems can be portable or non-portable depending on the nature of the intended conferences. In the learning environment, students involved in the learning process are usually connected to the system. The role of the instructor is to ensure the right content is delivered to the learners. During the process, the learners can ask questions and offer responses to the instructor.

The Continuous Presence (CP) model has been produced to ensure all participants or learners are displayed on the screen at the same time (Alhassan, 2016). The MCU also ensures that all the images of the participants are relayed to the user (Milner et al., 2015). The layouts on the screen change significantly depending on the number of learners. The system, therefore, makes learning possible for many students.

Privacy and Security: Advantages and Disadvantages

The pioneers of videoconferencing systems technology have been focusing on the best equipment capable of linking two or more participants. The systems usually rely on the internet for communication especially when the individuals are in different geographical locations. This issue explains why security has become a major concern for many technologists and users of these systems. Hackers can interfere with the software systems and eventually affect the process. Additionally, comprised videoconferencing can result in loss of privacy. Confidential information transmitted through video conferencing might be leaked to the public (Kearns, 2016). Although videoconferencing is described as a safe method of communication, any security breach can result in numerous problems. Communication challenges, language barriers, and lack of internet in different regions can affect the use of videoconferencing for learning purposes.

On the other hand, the systems can be secured using advanced technologies. By so doing, more learners and teachers will be able to realize their goals. Learners can acquire useful information without having to travel. Individuals who are working can embrace the power of videoconferencing technology to realize their educational goals. Teachers can also educate more learners simultaneously without incurring numerous expenses (Kearns, 2016). Experts, therefore, believe strongly that the use of videoconferencing will identify new innovative applications and eventually transform people’s lifestyles (Pandolfini, 2016). It will be appropriate for developers of these technological systems should be aware of the major security breaches that can undermine their effectiveness. This knowledge will make it easier for them to come up with new security measures to address every threat.

Sustainable Application of Videoconferencing Systems

The use of videoconferencing is embraced by many people because it has the potential to minimize environmental impacts and promote sustainability. The traditional learning process relies on the use of paper materials, chalk, and pens. These materials are usually expensive to produce and require huge tracks of land (“Are Dalhousie’s conferences ‘green’,” 2016). Videoconferencing minimizes the use of these materials by over 50 percent. Institutions that continue to embrace the use of modern technologies such as video conferencing will minimize their impacts on the natural environment.

Green videoconferencing is another concept whereby learners and teachers focus on the best approaches to minimize the use of energy. Modern computers and conferencing systems minimize the impacts on the environment (“Are Dalhousie’s conferences ‘green’,” 2016). Learners can avoid the use of writing materials and summarize the gained information using their computers or handheld devices. The conference can be held in a convenient manner to ensure the greatest number of learners is targeted. These measures will, therefore, protect the environment.

Leadership in a Rollout Development Project of Videoconferencing Systems

As more institutions continue to appreciate the benefits of videoconferencing, leadership will become relevant towards effective project implementation. In order to lead the rollout project, a change model is needed and should focus on the needs of the key stakeholders. Kurt Lewin’s change theory can be used by leaders to implement the targeted videoconferencing system. The model focuses on freezing, changing, and refreezing (Webb, Darling, & Alvey, 2014). The first step can be used to prepare the individuals for the change. Leadership can be used to mentor and guide individuals. The next thing is introducing the new project. Finally, the stakeholders should be encouraged to support the new technology. Problem-solving, decision-making, and empowerment should be undertaken continuously by leaders. These practices will ensure the project is implemented successfully.

References

Alhassan, R. (2016). Mobile learning as a method of ubiquitous learning: Students’ attitudes, readiness, and possible barriers to implementation in higher education. Journal of Education and Learning, 5(1), 176-189.

Are Dalhousie’s conferences ‘green’: A sustainability review of Dalhousie’s Halifax campuses conferencing procedures. (2016). Web.

Bennett, P. (2016). E-learning in K-12 schools: The prospects for disruptive innovation. AIMS, 1(1), 1-36.

Kearns, G. (2016). Countering mobile device threats: A mobile device security model. Journal of Forensic & Investigative Accounting, 8(1), 36-48.

Milner, A., Lemon-Leverenz, K., & Powell, G. (2015). Integrating streaming, videoconferencing, and unified communications solutions: Science teachers, science students, and science experts using technology to collaborate for understanding. Meridian: A K-16 School Computer Technologies Journal, 1(1), 1-21.

Pandolfini, V. (2016). Exploring the impact of ICTs in Education: Controversies and challenges. Italian Journal of Sociology of Education, 8(2), 28-53.

Webb, L., Darling, J., & Alvey, N. (2014). Multicultural leadership development in the 21st century. EnCompass, 1(1), 1-20.

Ziemna, R., Sarkar, N., Pickus B., Dallwig, A., Wan, J., & Alcindor, H. (2016). Using international videoconferencing to extend the global reach of community health nursing education. Public Health Nursing, 33(4), 360-370.