Video conferencing on mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, is no longer a new concept. Neither are telepresence robots which allows remote participants to not only see, hear and talk; but also move around. However, the latest version of the VGO Telepresence Robot is now equipped with Verizon LTE giving the solution an even wider range.

Previous models could only connect via WiFi and, unfortunately, a WiFi connection isn’t always available. The value of robotic telepresence is the ability to move around and converse with classmates or colleagues freely; not trying to stay within reach of WiFi signal. With Verizon LTE built into the device, VGo users no longer have to worry whether or not they can access the internet.Remote manager can easily check in with teams or troubleshoot issues on the manufacturing line and healthcare organizations can monitor patients and increase expert availability.

Not to mention students, like Lyndon Baty, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend school because of medical conditions now have the opportunity to interact with classmates. The Verizon Foundation supports projects that apply technology to improve education and is delivering VGos to 15 institutions nationwide.

 

Distance learning programs are rapidly increasing in popularity as colleges and universities try to reach a wider array of students. Potential students scattered around the globe generally select a school that is geographically continent because they cannot relocate simply to attend school. Additionally, part-time graduate students find it difficult to attend class on a weekly basis due to work commitments, child care coordination, and the plethora of other things that come up in their busy lives.

Unfortunately, even though distance learning programs are growing in popularity, many continue to lack the interactive experience that facilitates true learning. For example, two years ago I took an accounting class online to fulfill one of the requirements for my MBA. The class consisted of self-paced video tutorials, online message boards where we were required to discuss current events related to accounting and an online chat room where we could ask our professor questions about our homework assignments in real time.

The video tutorials were essentially PowerPoint slides with sound clips; however, I found myself having to replay sections three or four times because my mind would start wandering to other things. It is extremely difficult to focus on a static slide with a voice over because there is nothing to grab your attention. In a traditional classroom, you are able to see the professor’s facial expressions and movements around the classroom which helps focus your attention on what the professor is saying.

Furthermore, trying to ask and answer questions over chat was quite frustrating, especially for a math based class. It is extremely hard to articulate a mathematical process without a visual representation of the steps and the numbers. Often times it would take twenty to thirty minutes just to get one difficult question answered because the professor was having difficulty understand exactly what question I was asking.

At the end of the class, I was very disappointed in the experience as I felt I did not learn as much as I could have. Face-to-face interaction is a critical component of the learning experience and therefore needs to be integrated into distance learning programs before these programs can truly rival traditional classroom-based programs.

The good news is video conferencing solutions can help bridge this gap by creating a virtual classroom. With cloud-based meeting rooms, a professor can simulate a traditional classroom environment with lectures and interactive discussions. Students only need a webcam to join and can connect to the classroom with Skype, Google Video Chat or even their browser!

The professor can then easily present a topic, call on raised hands to answer questions and even see when students are not paying attention. After the lecture, the professor can facilitate an interactive discussion among students since they are able to see the professor as well as other students simultaneously.

Integrating video conferencing solutions into the curriculum can not only help address many of the distance learning challenges but allow colleges and universities to find a renewed efficiency and effectiveness within their operations.

Stay tuned for more ways to integrate video into educational programs!

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Extend the Reach of Education with Telepresence
A New Kind of Study Group

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Due to the approach of Hurricane Sandy and the likelihood of a long-term power outage, we have decided to postpone this event.  Please register for the event to ensure you receive updates when a new date has been established.  Thank you! 

As we embark on another school year, many colleges and universities are working feverishly on an engaging curriculum that will prepare students for the fast paced and ever changing “real world” they will enter upon graduation.

Join IVCi at a webinar that demonstrates how learning institutions can utilize cloud video and other solutions to extend the reach of education beyond the classroom. 

In this webinar you will learn about:

  1. Distance Learning: Students and professors can connect to a virtual classroom or study group from any desktop video client including Skype, Google Video Chat and even their web browser!
  2. Guest Lectures: Allow professors and other distinguished leaders from all over the world to present to a group of students without costly and time consuming travel. 
  3. Research: Collaborate and share content with subject matter experts and research groups through an interactive forum.

Sign up today!

Take Learning To The Next Level With Video Conferencing
[Click here to Register]
Date: Postponed Until Further Notice
Time: 2:00 PM Eastern / 11:00 AM Pacific (US)

Today at the Visual Communications Industry Group Annual Expo, IVCi unveiled its comprehensive suite of distance learning solutions. Combining the best of Audio Visual Integration, Video Conferencing, and cloud services, these solutions enable educational institutions to extend the reach of education far outside of the classroom. IVCi is exhibiting at booth #201. If you are out at the show, come by and take a look! We are also showcasing our new UC Room solution.

Additional Resources:

IVCi Distance Learning Solutions Press Release

UC Group Systems

 

It’s finally here, the Capstone class that completes the last semester of my MBA. In it, we break up into teams and play a computer simulated game where we compete against each other in a mock business world. At the beginning of the class our professor said, “I would suggest meeting in person, teams that meet over video historically haven’t done very well.”

This slightly upset me since I work at a video company and truly believe that teams meeting over video can be just as effective as teams meeting in person. I thought to myself, challenge accepted, and set out to prove my professor wrong.

Every Thursday night my team meets over video to review the previous quarter’s results and submit our sales/marketing, operations and financial decisions for the next quarter. Granted I have an unfair advantage over the rest of the teams since I have access to an interoperable cloud meeting room which allows us to join over different platforms. I use Cisco Jabber, our “CFO” uses Skype and our “COO,” who does not have a webcam, simply uses her browser.

During the meeting, I share my screen so the team can easily view the supporting data, follow along and focus on what decisions we need to make. We all take turns sharing our thoughts and opinions and, since it’s harder to interrupt over video, raise our finger to signal we would like to speak next. After each set of decisions are entered, we review to ensure the numbers are correct and then submit them.

It’s been four weeks since we started and, not only are we in first place, our stock price is more than double that of our closest competitor. Obviously a lot can change in the remaining weeks; all it takes is one bad decision to knock us out of position. Even so, I can’t help feel victorious in proving my professor wrong.

I simply love video and all of its uses. Last semester, one of my professors had to cancel class due to a business trip. Instead, he sent us the PowerPoint slides with audio clips to deliver that week’s lecture. It was the absolute, most boring hour of my life and nearly impossible to stay focused. I had to listen to each audio clip at least twice because my mind kept wandering.

Looking back, I wish we could have had the class over video. We all could have joined in a cloud meeting room and the professor could have delivered his lecture while we followed along with the PowerPoint slides. It’s amazing how easily video can bring together students and enhance the learning experience; I know I would have retained a lot more out of that class session.

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