The area of global education has benefited a lot and in various ways from the rise of communication technology. Breakthroughs in broadband connectivity, as well as in mobile internet solutions not only affect consumers – these breakthroughs make tasks in the education sector that much easier as well. You only need to look at the rise of online education to see that technology has made information and education available to more people in our times.
“Technology is now making online education a better option for more people.”
Online education is built on – among other foundations – video conferencing technology, which allows educators to bridge distance and time gaps, and conquer traditional barriers and challenges in the realm of education.
Online education – particularly modes that use video conferencing – are able to make classes available to people who normally would not be able to have access to classes because of time or distance issues.
Distance education based on email communications have helped open this sector up, but it is video calling – even with consumer apps like Skype, WhatsApp, and Apple’s FaceTime – that add the elements of visualization, personal engagement, and contextualization to classes.
Reaching Students at Lower Cost
Traditional educational methods require teachers to go where the students are, and teach them on a regular basis. Education based on traditional methods require infrastructure to be effective, and of course, infrastructure demands money.
“Traditional education is better is some respects, but it always requires costly infrastructure.”
With online education, and especially with video conferencing, you almost never need the infrastructure that traditional educational methods demand and require. Of course, you will need to spend for a good internet connection – but the ubiquity of network technology, computers, and mobile devices, has made this cost almost negligible.
Education has also received a bump in quality when – through video conferencing – schools and educational institutions can now bring quality expert teachers to places where their expertise would not have been possible to avail. Bringing an expert would usually entail cost, but through video conferencing technology, that cost is immediately mitigated.
Overcoming the Barriers of Time and Distance
With online education based on video conferencing, the traditional barriers of time and distance are effectively eliminated by technology. Classes are held at the time when both teacher and student/s are available and convenient. And a robust broadband internet connection conquers distance in most cases.
This makes online education a great choice for adults who need to work and study at the same time. While work schedules typically require the daytime, nighttime classes in the convenience of their homes are now naturally possible with video conferencing.
“Video conferencing has radically changed education in this age.”
One of the big beneficiaries of online education are the countries where English is not the native language. In these areas, getting a traditional English education – through a school or a personal tutor – will cost a lot. Companies and institutions now offer English classes at hugely affordable rates via online learning.
Students in these language classes don’t have to travel or spend too much to get quality language education, as video conferencing is making things easier for these learners.
Technological Limitations of Online Learning
The first requirement of online learning is, of course, that both the teacher and the student/s can get on the internet. This requires robust internet connectivity that sometimes is not available in certain areas.
But the reach of the internet is widening at breakneck speed, and it should only be a matter of time for this to reach areas without a proper internet connection. The unstoppable progress of technology also means that the cost of getting good internet is always trending down.
Going into the nitty gritty, educators and prospective students need to agree on what medium and app they are going to use for establishing contact. Again, these small details and issues are mitigated by the fact that most devices and apps are cross-platform in nature, and it will just be a matter of choosing one that is available to both.
Of course, proprietary platform apps like Apple’s FaceTime have situational issues in this regard – as you can’t use FaceTime on Android (source: JoyofAndroid), obviously. But if both teacher and student use Mac or iOS devices, then it shouldn’t even be a problem.
Video Conferencing for Online Education is Here to Stay
Video conferencing has had a huge impact on online education – and even just the state of global education in general – that one can’t really imagine going without this technology. Schools and universities – some begrudgingly – are beginning to open up to the idea of distance education. They can’t avoid it – this is the reality brought about by technology.
And online education is only ever going to get better, as technology pushes forward more and more. Education is one of the sectors which will generally benefit from breakthroughs in communication and information technology, and may it ever be so. The world is certainly a better place for it than without it.