One of the most innovative changes to the education system today is the use of video in a variety of different settings to help communicate knowledge, allowing for better distance-based teaching methods. Everything from a professor’s office hours to an entire seminar can be conducted online by using video. The use of video in education also comes with the promise of better long-distance opportunities for those who don’t have access to education right outside their front doors.
One piece of technology that is leading the charge in this video revolution is WebRTC, an open-source platform that allows you to integrate very high quality video, audio and data communication into the most popular education services and apps available today. WebRTC gives teachers and students the ability to connect and communicate via video chat straight through their browser or any Internet connected device without the need to install any plugins, codecs or software like Skype or GoToMeeting. It makes video communication available to truly everyone, Jetson’s style, and this has broad implications for many aspects of education going forward.
The core WebRTC technologies from Google and others are free and open source, and they operate through the standard Internet. However, educational services and applications that integrate WebRTC infrastructure software development kits (SDKs) like Agora.io give students and teachers around the world a clearer and stronger connection since they use dedicated communication servers all over the world. These servers allow them to achieve higher quality voice and video calls to mobile devices by seamlessly bridging 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi networks, so nothing is lost when educating students worldwide who may not have the bandwidth you do.
So what does this all mean? How exactly will this new emerging platform change education? Read on to find out.
It Brings the Best Teachers and Tutors to Your Smartphone/Tablet/Computer Screen
WebRTC is straightforward; it gives students who are hungry for knowledge the ability to connect to the brightest teachers and tutors from all around the world straight through their Internet connected devices. It works for one-on-one sessions, groups, classes or lecture-hall sized sessions. Educational apps with WebRTC integrated can allow hundreds or even thousands of students spread around the world to learn from the best teachers all at the same time, which will further democratize education and could greatly bring down costs.
It’s Making the Dream of Flipped Classrooms for the Masses a Reality
The idea of a flipped classroom is one where students arrive to class already having watched a video lesson on a particular topic, and they spend the classroom time working on their homework with the assistance of the teacher or professor. A full 46 percent of educators today agree that these flipped classrooms are becoming more and more popular, but a common hurdle is that they can only be effectively utilized when you are able to have an integrated video system that students can easily use to watch the lecture prior to class. WebRTC allows educational institutions to better utilize flipped classrooms by offering an easy to use platform for delivering online streaming lectures on a variety of devices.
It Brings a Variety of Teachers into a Homeschooling Setting
The traditional homeschooling experience of today is a little different from that of yesteryear even though the concept of homeschooling is still based on a parent-led classroom experience. The ongoing utilization of video learning within the homeschooling sphere, which uses open source platforms like WebRTC, will allow the parent-led experience to morph into a more community-oriented approach that permits parents to bring in “visiting” professors to help teach about specific subjects that they have trouble teaching.
While the growth in homeschooling tends to vary in the range of two to eight percent per year, the inclusion of video platforms like WebRTC has the potential to increase this number dramatically. Parents who have been on the fence about homeschooling are now better able to make the leap to homeschooling with ongoing video support.
It Makes Distance Learning a More Immersive Experience
If you look at just how far the concept of online learning has come in the past decade, you may be surprised at what you find. Online learning has so far progressed from simply a second class method of learning to a fully baked system that is in use across the educational landscape, from elementary homeschooling to online colleges to the Kahn Academy. In fact, 83 percent of people think that the importance of online education will only appreciate in the future, and 66 percent of people agree that using video to manage an education remotely is the most effective option in higher education settings.
Those statistics alone say it all: Having the option for live streaming educational sessions is something that not only improves learning but also improves its efficacy for a majority of learners. A technology like WebRTC, with its open source code base and easy implementation of video, audio and data transfer that can be used for things like messaging and file transfers, will only make this type of remote learning more accessible and more immersive as time goes by. Additionally, the broad availability of WebRTC allows educational institutions of all types to experiment with integrating remote learning capabilities in both brick and mortar institutions (through additional video-based opportunities) and in online classrooms where teachers want to provide a better experience to all their students.