Video Conferencing has always been considered as an upmarket technology; beyond the reach of common people, especially in the rural sector. However, the circumstances have started to show some positive bends lately. Technology has stepped into the rural domain and have also started impacting the lives of the masses. The basic purpose of video conferencing solutions is an enhanced virtual connectivity. Beforehand, the far-flung villages suffered from the unavailability of necessary amenities which the virtual connectivity has brought to their doorstep.
The greatest impact of the audio-visual technology can be seen in the rural education sector. Rural communities have always suffered from the lack of qualitative education within accessible distance. Stories of people traveling miles in search of qualitative education and training aren’t rare. Girls, in most Indian villages fail to get educated in hi-end technologies since their parents are unwilling to let them travel to distant schools and colleges. Video Conferencing Solutions for education have been able to curtail these drawbacks to a considerable extent.
Benefits of virtual collaboration for education in the rural sector
Experts at doorstep
The AV collaborative solutions have bridged the gap between education and the learners. This technology and the solutions based on it have transformed the authentic brick and mortar classrooms into global learning platforms. Through Live video collaboration, the rural students can learn directly from the experts in various genre’, ask questions and resolve problems without changing their locations; thus avoiding the traveling cost.
“Classroom without walls”
This is a concept that made around 125 students from 3 schools on the Kenai Peninsula spend a night at school to wake up at 4 a.m. for attending a video conference with the students in Nazareth, Israel (The Journal.com). This collaborative technology has not only pulled up the rural students to the standards where high-end education is not only 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 the students are leveraging video conferencing solutions to acquire higher education, parents can relax to see their children not shift base for higher education. In the pre-virtual collaboration scenario, helplessly worried parents had no option but to allow their children relocate to big cities to satisfy their learning sprees. This also made some parents reluctant about letting their children pursue higher education. Thus, curbing their growth, whih in its turn affecting the growth of rural education as a whole. With children collaborating virtually, the parents are also aware about their children’s academic progress. They can also be a part of virtual performance tracking of their wards and have discussions with the educators.
Teachers can grow as well
Apart from a better exposure and interaction with remote students, there are quite a few things that the teachers can really leverage from a hi-end video conferencing solution for education. Remote collaboration can help teachers, especially who are rurally located, enhance their skills. The teachers can, thus, not only impart education, but also be a part of different forums or peer-groups to act upon fruitful knowledge exchange.
Helping children with special needs
Children with special needs, located rurally, find it exceptionally tough to access varied learning scopes. With easily accessible video conferencing solutions, they can now register with various workshops, learning forums, discussion session without relocating. They can overcome their feeling of isolation by joining peers around the world who have similar needs and be a part of the global learning junket.
Initiatives to promote digital learning
Educational institutes around the world is focusing on encompassing digital learning into their curriculum. In India, E-Kranti program under the Digital India campaign, 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. Also, devices like tablets will be distributed among rural students and plans for initiating Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to help them overcome the demographic constrain 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 successful.
Centrally Sponsored schemes, Rashtriya Uchchatar Siksha Aviyan (RUSA) and not-for-profit organization, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) are set-up to fund and upgrade the education,training and skill development initiatives in the country, including the digital learning undertakings.
Digital Learning endevours around the globe is gaining grounds. Developed countries like the USA, Australia, New Zealand and the countries of the European Union have already started leveraging the benefits of incorporating digital learning trend in their existing curriculum. Countries from Africa, Latin America and Asian Subcontinents to are following the current trend.
Some trailblazers in the domain of video conferencing, Telepresence and WebRTC like PeopleLink Unified Communication are stepping in to play their role in digitizing rural education in India as well as on the global front. Two of PeopleLink’s recent technological innovations InstaVC and Video Enabled Learning Management System (VLMS) are designed with the intention to make learning handy for student, overcoming all challenges.