Telepresence An Indispensible Technology for K-12 Classrooms

September 19, 2011 - 0 Comments

If you were to walk into any school these days—whether an elementary, middle, or high school—you would see students using some degree of technology. Whether it’s a computer in a lab, a tablet, or an interactive whiteboard, technology has no doubt made its way into students’ schooldays.

The trend towards technology in education stands to proliferate: according to Education Week, the Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Education rank facilitating technology access as their top goal during tough economic times. With this goal in mind, telepresence should rank highly on the list of technologies designated for schools—after all, telepresence offers several solutions to maintaining education quality under ever-tightening budgets.

Beyond addressing fiscal concerns, telepresence offers unique technological benefits that further some of today’s missions for educational progress. For example, the same Education Week article notes the rapid spread of E-learning, even in K-12 classrooms. Some students attend entirely virtual schools, while others take part in hybrid virtual and in-person models, the article said. No matter the extent of the virtual education component, telepresence can enhance these students’ experiences: they can go anywhere, speak with anyone, and see anything, provided a telepresence connection exists.

In addition to E-learning, project-based teaching methods increasingly transform grade-school classrooms. While I’ve written a bit before about the power of telepresence to enhance the project-based learning experience through sharing of knowledge with other students, I came across a post on the Techno Kids Computer Curriculum blog that made me think of even more ways telepresence could help make project-based learning powerful. The post discussed how technology in general could enhance project-based learning.  Specifically with telepresence though, students working on projects could gain face-to-face access to experts in their topic of study, motivating them to inquire more deeply into the subject. Using telepresence to speak with experts, community organizations, museums, government agencies, or other relevant entities helps build communication skills and confidence, both qualities that contribute to independent, self-directed learning.

Are you using telepresence to expose young learners to the world?

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