How can video conferencing solutions positively impact rural education?
Video conferencing has always been considered a luxury technology; out of the reach of ordinary people, especially in the rural sector. However, circumstances have started to show some positive curves of late. Technology has entered the rural domain and has also begun to impact the lives of the masses. The basic purpose of video conferencing solutions is enhanced virtual connectivity. Beforehand, remote villages were suffering from the unavailability of the necessary amenities that virtual connectivity has brought to their doorstep.
The greatest impact of audiovisual technology is seen in the rural education sector. Rural communities have always suffered from a lack of quality education within accessible distance. Stories of people traveling miles in search of quality education and training are not uncommon. Girls in most Indian villages fail to get an education in cutting-edge technologies because their parents are unwilling to let them travel to distant schools and colleges. Video conferencing solutions for education have been able to reduce these inconveniences to a great extent.
Benefits of virtual collaboration for education in the rural sector
Experts at the door
AV collaborative solutions have bridged the gap between education and learners. This technology and the solutions based on it have transformed authentic traditional classrooms into global learning platforms. Through live video collaboration, rural students can learn directly from experts in various genres, ask questions and solve problems without changing locations; thus avoiding the cost of travel.
“Classroom Without Walls”
This is a concept that saw around 125 students from 3 schools on the Kenai Peninsula spend a night at school only to wake up at 4am to attend a video conference with students in Nazareth, Israel (The Journal.com). This collaborative technology has not only brought rural students up to the standards where high-level education is not just limited to their privileged urban or suburban peers, but also helped them realize the importance and urgency of cross-cultural collaboration. We can thank this technology for helping rural students become responsible global citizens.
Parents are in control
While students take advantage of video conferencing solutions to pursue higher education, parents can relax that their children do not change their foundation for higher education. In the pre-virtual collaboration scenario, helplessly concerned parents had no choice but to allow their children to move to big cities to satisfy their learning sprees. This also made some parents reluctant to let their children pursue higher education. Thus slowing down its growth, which in turn affects the growth of rural education as a whole. With children collaborating virtually, parents are also aware of their children’s academic progress. They can also be part of monitoring the virtual performance of their neighborhoods and having discussions with educators.
Teachers can grow too
Aside from better exposure and interaction with remote students, there are quite a few things teachers can really take advantage of from a high-end video conferencing solution for education. Remote collaboration can help teachers, especially those in rural areas, improve their skills. Teachers can therefore not only deliver education, but also be part of different forums or peer groups to act on a fruitful exchange of knowledge.
Help children with special needs
Children with special needs, located in rural areas, find it exceptionally difficult to access various learning environments. With easily accessible video conferencing solutions, they can now register for various workshops, learning forums, discussion sessions without moving. They can overcome their feeling of isolation by joining peers from around the world who have similar needs and be part of the global learning journey.
Initiatives to promote digital learning
Educational institutes around the world are focusing on including digital learning in their curriculum. In India, the Digital India campaign’s E-Kranti program is designed to focus on digitizing rural education. Under this program, free Wi-Fi will be provided to 2.5 lakh schools in the next five years. In addition, devices such as tablets will be distributed among rural students and plans to start massive open online courses (MOOCs) to help them overcome the demographic restriction and learn from global industry experts and eminent mentors. Players like Google and Facebook are also partnering with the Central Government to make the initiative a success.
The centrally sponsored schemes, Rashtriya Uchchatar Siksha Aviyan (RUSA) and the non-profit organization, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) are set to fund and enhance education, training and skills development initiatives in the country, including the digital . learning ventures.
Digital learning efforts around the world are gaining ground. Developed countries such as the US, Australia, New Zealand, and European Union countries have already started reaping the benefits of incorporating the digital learning trend into their existing curriculum. Countries in Africa, Latin America and the Asian subcontinents follow the current trend.