Education is constantly evolving. In fact, the modern classroom and learning environment has changed dramatically from the one that many of us grew up in. New teaching philosophies and techniques are constantly emerging and the days of a teacher standing at the front of a room of half-asleep pupils lecturing from a course book seem to be coming to an end.
What we’re starting to see instead are methods like the Montessori Method which embrace more interactive environments. The key thinking behind these methods is that students are naturally curious and hungry for learning and knowledge, and will seek and learn new things through interaction, self-directed projects and observation. In addition, many of these new methods call for putting students of varying ages together, and allowing older students to act as teachers or mentors to younger ones, creating a social environment where students can pass on what they’ve learned to others.
The adoption of video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions in the classroom has allowed educators to take these concepts of project-based, self-directed learning and students teaching students a step further. By utilizing VTC solutions, students can be tasked with creating presentations on a wide variety of topics and subjects and share. These projects empower students to explore, research and interact with a subject at their own pace and level, and then share what they’ve learned via video with students across the globe. In addition to learning about these topics and teaching others, the students receive an excellent education in using new technologies.
There are a handful of excellent and recent examples of VTC solutions being used in this way to teach students through the creation of their own content. One example was the first ever Project Astronomy Competition in New South Wales, Australia (NSW) by the NSW Department of Education and TANDBERG.
The Project Astronomy Competition corresponded with the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first use of the telescope, and challenged students to use their VTC facilities to develop a classroom presentation on Astronomy and share it within the region. The winner, a Year 9 class at Burwood Girls High School in NSW, used their creative skills in science, mathematics and technology to secure a $10,000 TANDBERG high definition video conferencing package for their school.
Another example is the Kids Creating Community Content (KC3) International Contest being conducted by the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC) and TANDBERG. The contest challenges students to create a dynamic videoconference program about their community to be offered to classrooms internationally. Not only does this contest help students learn about and look at their community in a new way, but also helps to spread knowledge of different geographies and cultures to students around the world. The completed projects are currently being displayed and judged, and the winners are expected to be announced in March.
By enabling the creation and international sharing of student content, VTC solutions are helping to educate and break down the walls separating students across the globe. Self-directed projects that help students learn and educate others around the world, now that’s a new way of teaching.