By Chip Manning
Collaboration technology is transforming communication efforts in many industries. When we think of collaboration technology, we often think of the corporate office, but collaboration technology and the way it enhances communication efforts is finding new uses outside enterprise settings. Various collaboration technologies are transforming classrooms across the world. Let’s explore various types of collaboration technologies and how they can transform education into a learning experience.
Video Conferencing in the Classroom
The benefits of video conferencing in an enterprise setting have been well documented, however, video conferencing offers multiple benefits in the classroom as well. Video conferencing enables remote students and teachers’ seamless communication regardless of location.
Video conferencing simplifies administrative tasks, and the recording feature on many video conferencing systems allows students who missed class time the chance to catch up on lectures. Video conferencing also enhances communication between parents and teachers by allowing parents to video conference with teachers so they can better understand course curriculum.
78 percent of students said video conferencing enhanced their learning experience, and educators and institutions have seen a major rise in student engagement when video conferencing is being used. The globalization of education enabled by video conferencing in the classroom will continue to revolutionize the learning process—for both students and teachers.
Classroom Collaboration via Virtual Reality
Virtual reality provides students with opportunities that would be impossible without collaboration technology. VR technology can be used for students of all ages for a variety of educational practices. Lower budget educational institutions often find it difficult to fund field trips for students and VR allows students to visit a variety of locationswithout ever leaving the classroom.
Virtual field trips are one way VR tech is transforming classrooms, but recent technological advancements are starting new VR classroom trends. For example, VR 360-degree cameras have revolutionized the way students and educators communicate. These new cameras increase student engagement and productivity through virtual communication. VR 360-degree cameras put remote students in a virtual classroom with their peers and teachers.
VR is also changing the way students interact with one another. New social VR spaces are providing students and teachers a new way to communicate where they can interact with peers from around the world. Social VR spaces allow students to create customizable avatars and encourages student socialization and interaction. Successful collaboration in the classroom is dependent on a comfortable learning environment, and new social VR spaces enable students to interact in whatever way they are most comfortable with.
Augmented Reality in the Classroom
AR is being used by social media sites, search engines, and apps to create more engaging and informative content. Educational facilities around the globe are beginning to recognize the benefits AR can bring to the classroom. AR offers the ability to overlay virtual content with real-world environments. This virtual overlay provides students and educators to view real world content in a way that would otherwise be impossible. For example, medical students could take a picture of the human body—with the help of AR— and overlay specified medical information through a device such as a smartphone. The content created by AR is more engaging, interactive, and informative than traditional classroom methods.
Collaboration technology has already transformed businesses in many industries. However, collaboration tech has many benefits outside an enterprise setting. In the classroom, collaboration technology such as video conferencing, VR capabilities, and certain AR functions are increasing student engagement and providing students and teachers with new ways to interact and communicate. For educators that are looking for ways to increase student engagement in a fun and interactive form, collaboration technology is a must.