Video conferencing in Education
Video conferencing has been an integral part of our business world for the better part of two decades. We are finally seeing high-definition video (especially TelePresence) being adopted in scale by organisations and delivering very strong return on investment performance and productivity gains.
Video has also played an important role in higher education, particularly in the university sector – but we haven’t seen it widely used in primary and secondary education networks until quite recently.
One of those primary and secondary education networks utilising video conferencing is our client CEnet, an Australian not-for-profit services company supporting a large collection of Catholic education networks currently connecting school communities across metropolitan, regional and rural areas.
CEnet currently services primary and secondary schools that form part of 16 member Catholic Dioceses around Australia, with an end-user population that extends to some 330,000 users including students, teachers and administrative staff.
They have recently published two interesting case studies that demonstrate the ways in which video can enrich the educational experience for students, and also make it possible for schools to run more advanced learning programs.
The first of these stories from CEnet centres on the canonisation of Australia’s first Catholic saint, Mary MacKillop. A group of Year 11 Catholic high school students travelled across to Italy to attend the canonisation ceremony at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, using social media and video to share their experience with students in Australia. After the canonisation, six primary school classes from different locations around Australia then collaborated over video on a Mark Mackillop class inquiry unit, including a session with the high school students who travelled to Rome. You can read the full story on CEnet’s website.
The second example of video conferencing in action came from the group of high schools in the Diocese of Wollongong, a region just to the south of the city of Sydney. Four schools in that region participated in running a Mathematics extension course for students. As it was a very advanced course, normally, there would not be enough students and dedicated staff at each individual school to be able to offer the course. However, video conferencing enabled the schools to bring the students together for classes, and for them to experience teachers with different areas of expertise from across the region. The case study, ‘Building a community for Wollongong’s maths wizards’ can be read in full here.