By TWA Intern

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Create Virtual Educational Theme Park for Kids

With the possibilities enabled by video technology, engaging students with their education is getting easier. See how you can create an online classroom.

The days of dusty chalkboards and droll daydreaming staring out the window are in the past as schools are starting to embrace high tech solutions as a way of keeping their students engages with the material regardless of physical proximity. While a student of the past might not be able to grasp a subject through its explanation in a textual passage, today’s students are able to see the concepts play out in front of them in a real time video setting, moving virtual education beyond the Jetsons to become a viable program. With platforms like Blue Jeans, online classrooms are growing in prevalence and popularity in schools throughout the globe.

What Problems Does it Solve?

As students become more mobile in their pursuit of their future careers, the need for flexibility in education grows as well. The practice of larger corporations sending recruiters to campus is still around, but for the majority of students, this limited face time with potential employers is insufficient to forge a lasting impression. Moving to the heart of their chosen industry for a summer or a semester has become de rigueur for the students of today, with those interested in finance and fashion moving to New York, students in entertainment moving to Los Angeles, the politically driven ending up in DC, and technology entrepreneurs flocking to San Francisco. If a student wishes to retain his or her active participation in a course with a university, living in these far flung cities proves problematic, unless of course, the university has created online classroom settings for those students to remain involved and engaged with their professors as well as their fellow classmates.

What Are the Potential Benefits?

Aside from the basic solution that online classrooms provide as a way of allowing students to extend their education beyond geographic constraints, online classrooms and live video conferencing technology allows for a fully cohesive learning environment that takes place entirely on screen. Students who would previously need to make tough decisions between working and studying can now balance the two with their increased flexibility with video class participation.

For professors who want to bring in a guest lecturer for their students, virtual classrooms are a much easier way of bringing in a new voice than flying someone in to teach a class. With a simple email invitation to connect through his or her computer or mobile device, the process would be painless. Students gain access to advice and information from lecturers who might work in the field they are preparing to enter, without the lecturer needing to unneeded take time out of his or her busy working schedule. If there is a notable scholar at a different university that could offer some valuable insight into a topic, asking that scholar to deliver a guest lecture to the students requires little more than the time commitment to prepare the material and the actual duration of that class. Valuable information should be available to students regardless of their physical location, shouldn’t it?

Students with recurring health difficulties that remand them to the home or hospital can now engage with classmates and professors in the online space. These technologically enabled platforms like the cloud-based Blue Jeans online classrooms can help expand the scope of hospital educational programs like SickKids and allow for a more diverse learning environment with a greater selection of courses from which to choose.

Because study abroad experiences are becoming increasingly standard for university students in four year programs, the benefits of using online classrooms in these scenarios are immeasurable. For a student who wishes to take a semester learning a foreign language through immersive travel, or study a particular subject with the world’s preeminent scholars, study abroad can be a perfect opportunity. However, there can be significant challenges for a student to still graduate within their originally planned timeline if their home university is adverse to granting credit for courses taken at another university. Thankfully, online classrooms, virtual office hours with the professor and video conference enabled study groups with their fellow classmates all allow students to remain enrolled in classes at their home university while they still fully embrace the experience of living in a foreign country.

How You Can Implement

If you’re a teacher or professor, there is always going to be a bit of red tape to go through with the administration before you can adopt new practices and technology, but live video-enabled online classrooms allow both you and your students a large degree of flexibility that’s worth pitching to the school. With easy to implement systems available like Blue Jeans, online classrooms don’t even require clunky equipment or software to begin using. Students and teachers can use their existing devices to begin learning remotely from wherever they might be located. If you’re a student who wishes to begin using online classrooms as part of your regular study routine, make the suggestion to your school. All it takes is an email to get the ball rolling.

 

Check out Theme Park and Ride Design for Gifted Learners by Annenberg Learner 

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