Video communications in schools – a solution whose time has come

The COVID-19 lockdown has raised the stakes in education and added urgency to the need for schools to find virtual learning and video conferencing solutions to keep pupils engaged with their work and connected to their teachers and peers

The world of education is rapidly changing. Even before the current coronavirus crisis, traditional styles of teaching in schools, which had held sway for so long, were shifting. Schools have increasingly been discovering the power of video conferencing to extend the learning experience beyond classroom walls, and connect their pupils with people, places and events in a way that compliments traditional textbook and blackboard learning. Many forward-thinking schools have been cognisant of the new technologies coming on stream and many have already started exploring the best of what these kinds of video-based solutions have to offer. The COVID-19 pandemic has, however, raised the stakes in education and added urgency to the need for schools to find virtual learning and video conferencing solutions to keep pupils engaged with their work and connected to their teachers and peers. More and more organisations are continuing to operate using video collaboration platforms such as Vidyo by Enghouse Interactive.

The robust and secure technology gives educational institutions of all sizes the flexibility to run online classes, virtual learning centres, teacher training programmes or one-to-one music lessons as well as staff meetings for crisis & continuity planning.

Vidyo not only supports video calls, the platform also allows screen and application sharing as well as an interactive whiteboard, facilitating interaction, illustration and explanation. Video learning in a school environment is about breaking down the barriers that might otherwise get in the way of an effective learning experience. It is all about collaboration.

Video communication allows educators to extend the learning experience beyond the four walls of the traditional classroom. Subject matter experts can be brought online to help enhance the learning experience or it could be used to visit a museum exhibition in another part of the world. Video learning is a great way to enhance the curriculum, easy to use and understand, and typically cost effective.

The ability to record lessons further enhances the learning experience. It enables pupils to go back and replay lessons at their convenience either to catch up on a missed lesson or as a revision aid.

Along with the rapid growth in video collaboration, comes the need to effectively manage and leverage libraries of highly valued video content. It’s no longer sufficient to simply record and upload a video conference to a storage folder in the cloud. Institutions need ways to easily categorise, search, index, trim, clip, re-use, publish and share specific content quickly and cost-effectively.

Broader benefits

Video conferencing does not just benefit school pupils though, teaching and administrative staff within schools can also reap the rewards of this approach. Teachers can share best practices between different schools and access online teaching conferences in order to help enhance their own professional development. Using video collaboration doesn’t need to stop there. It can be used effectively for staff meetings, enabling teachers to dial in if they can’t attend physically or even catch up after the meeting.

Also, it is not always possible for a school to offer a full range of subjects to its pupils. This could be down to resource or budgets or perhaps the school is an academy focusing on specialist subjects. Through video the curriculum can be extended by collaborating with other schools to offer courses currently not on the agenda.

But it also offers advantages to pupils that struggle to attend school whether through illness, social anxiety or perhaps home schooled out of choice. By creating access to classrooms through video they can continue to keep up with their lessons whilst not being excluded from the curriculum. Video can also be applied to other areas, for instance connecting autistic children with assessors and education specialists as well as support groups outside the local school and community.

It can assist in providing an easy to use and affordable way for schools to connect students to the college prep experience. Here, Vidyo solutions for education help high school students participate in SAT and other training sessions. Students and their parents can also take advantage of college virtual tours and financial aid workshops.

Security is non-negotiable

All of these capabilities demonstrate the rich learning experience that video can help drive within schools but in the educational environment, it is critically important that all this capability is grounded in the most robust and resilient security possible.

At a time when we hear regular reports about hackers infiltrating video meetings to broadcast unsuitable images, or to abuse participants, the robust and resilient security offered by Vidyo is key in ensuring that learning is not just enriching and engaging but also safe and secure.

Through its video-conferencing solution, VidyoConnect, Vidyo offers technology with stringent security measures and the reassurance and peace of mind schools and teachers need when using any video conferencing application.

Protecting the login process from eavesdroppers and hackers is fundamental to securing the VidyoConnect service. Vidyo protects this process by establishing a critical front line of defence in a manner similar to the way online banking access is secured using TLS. The VidyoConnect service supports using industry-standard public key infrastructure, whereby each component is issued a digital certificate by a trusted third party certifying authority. This allows endpoints to verify the identity of VidyoConnect and also helps prevent malicious users from eavesdropping on communication.

Protecting the information passed in this machine-to-machine communication from would-be hackers is also key for securing the network. The VidyoConnect service leverages robust encryption technology to protect the content of video-conferences from being intercepted and decoded without the user’s knowledge. Vidyo’s solutions also offer built-in technology for spoof prevention, preventing hackers from stealing the identity of a trusted component of a network in order to gain access. Vidyo maintains an information security governance policy that controls the way the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information is handled, thereby preventing misuse and malicious damage that could impact operations.

The big picture All the trends and capabilities discussed above are shaping the development of educational video conferencing today. And between them, they are all already bringing a raft of benefits to schools and colleges. They are all examples of where Enghouse Interactive Vidyo conferencing solutions can help. And they are all areas where we expect interest from schools to ramp up over time.

The use of virtual classrooms and videoconferencing for education is increasing. But they are far more than just a temporary stopgap measure. Instead, they represent a trend that will continue to transform education in the longer term. A trend that’s being supported by the latest secure and reliable video collaboration platforms, such as Vidyo, that have the potential to overcome barriers, and bring the enhanced pupil/teacher engagement and richer learning experience of video to schools across the UK and the wider world.

To take advantage of Vidyo in your classroom download our 12 months trial to see how video collaboration can enhance the learning experience, using the link below.