By Joel Barbier, Cisco® Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG)
Educators face a number of challenges, from increased pressure to improve student performance on standardized tests to shrinking state and local budgets. In addition, instructors are leaving their classrooms for better opportunities, and students’ learning skills are tuned more to social media and new technologies than to traditional educational models. These challenges require that institutions transform the way they retain talent—and the way they reach and teach students.
Although they have used recorded videos for many years to introduce new experiences to students, and some have started employing web-based video technologies to save travel costs, most educational institutions do not understand the critical role video can play in scaling resources to improve education quality despite budget constraints.Cisco IBSG recently conducted interviews with industry experts in education, education sales, and emerging technologies to understand the pain points for educators and to determine whether video can help address their challenges.
Cisco IBSG found five main drivers of economic value from video solutions:
- Increasing faculty reach. Teachers and professors can reach students anywhere—even globally—without increasing travel costs. These solutions can make better use of teachers’ time by moving fact-based concepts—the information they currently repeat to each new class—to video, allowing them to use their in-class time for catch-up and application.
- Expanding the scale of faculty efforts. Video solutions enable the best teachers for each topic to capture their lessons and lectures for use by any number of students anywhere, anytime. Not only can the best teachers reach students anywhere, but they can also bring renowned experts into any classroom by video.
- Reducing textbook costs. Moving printed content to digital devices such as tablets, or replacing the content with video, reduces the cost of printed textbooks and enables immediate updates to content.
- Retaining teachers. Replacing teachers is costly. After pay, teachers’ main reasons for leaving their jobs are safety, the need to refresh and upgrade their own skills, and a desire to use the latest teaching tools. Integrated cameras are improving safety on campuses. Webinars, video courses, and social media tools help educators improve their own career skills, and by moving fact-based lectures to video, they have more time for personal development. Cisco IBSG estimates that video solutions can reduce teacher attrition by 15 to 20 percent.
- Reducing facilities costs. Universities in particular construct buildings to handle peak loads, but classrooms often sit empty. Institutions can normalize building utilization by moving courses to laptops, tablets, and other devices off campus.
West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) in Canyon, Texas, near Amarillo, has adopted pervasive video to help its student population grow from 8,000 today to 10,000 within three years, create real-time communication with and among students, increase collaboration on campus and around the world, and improve the safety and security of its students and faculty. It is one of the most video-enabled educational institutions in the United States.
Video allows students to capture homework assignments, professors to record lectures, administrators to broadcast messages across the campus, and security personnel to monitor incidents in real time.
Students, faculty, and administrators have all adopted the technology at an amazing rate and are creating content in “incredible” ways, according to James Webb, WTAMU’s chief information officer (CIO).
For many educational institutions, video makes immediate sense, while for others, adoption may need to be gradual. To help decision makers evaluate the best approach for their needs, Cisco IBSG offers the following roadmap:
- Determine whether your institution is ready to consider video adoption.
- Analyze the opportunity by understanding your goals for video and how you will apply video in your institution.
- Assess the video IT capabilities that are required to support these applications, and determine which video opportunities provide the most immediate benefits.
To learn more about the Cisco Connected Classroom and ISTE 2012 (#ISTE12), click here.