EDUCATION THROUGH VIDEO CONFERENCING - AN OVERVIEW

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1 IJMRT Volume 6 Number 1 January-June 2012: 1-6 I J M R T Serials Publications EDUCATION THROUGH VIDEO CONFERENCING - AN OVERVIEW P. Peratchi selvan,* M. Saravanan** & A. Jegadeesh*** Abstract: Videoconferencing saves time and money. Through the use of this technology, professional development opportunities that might otherwise be unaffordable for a school district became available to teachers and administrators. Ties with colleges and universities to take advantage of their resources such as trainings, certifications and career development opportunities, can enrich existing programs. Interviewing potential candidates, parent support workshops, sharing teachers between schools, and presenting at conferences are all other possibilities to explore. The paper suggests advantages and disadvantages of the techniques and enriches the learning experience of the students. INTROUCTION Videoconferencing is an interactive method of communication that combines the use of video, audio, and computing technologies to allow people in different locations to meet face-to-face to conduct a conference in real time. It can substitute for the actual physical presence of remote participants. This reduces travel costs as well as travel time and makes meeting attendance more convenient. It also provides flexibility in pulling together at short notice meetings of people in many and/or widely separate locations. For education, it offers opportunities to more readily brings outside experts into the classroom. Videoconferencing provides remote participants with much of the face-to-face familiarity that comes with physical presence, including the elements of facial expression, body language and eye contact. TYPES OF VIDIEO CONFERENCING Telepresence Videoconferencing Systems Telepresence systems give the appearance of being present (tele-present) in an actual meeting even though the participants are geographically dispersed. Telepresence systems can either be portable (roll-about) or Immersion (room based). This type of group meeting system usually consists of a high definition codec coupled with several very large flat panel display devices and integrated hi fidelity audio. Telepresence systems generally range from $60,000 to $300,000 each, depending on the size and capabilities of the equipment. * Assistant Librarian, Infant Jesus College of Engineering, Tutcorin District Tamilnadu, India. ** Assistant Professor, Department of Management Studies, Infant Jesus College of Engineering, Tutcorin District Tamilnadu, India. *** Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Infant Jesus College of Engineering & Technology, Tutcorin District Tamilnadu, India.

2 2 IJMRT Integrated Videoconferencing Rooms Integrated room conferencing systems are group conferencing systems most often used in conference rooms, board rooms, or classrooms with multiple participants. This type of system usually consists of a centralized location for the codec and associated hardware. The main camera, displays and peripheral video sources are usually permanently mounted in the main conferencing area. These customized configurations are normally equipped with multiple features and also allow for the videoconferencing room to be used for various other functions as well. Room integrated visual communication systems generally range from $10,000 to $100,000 each, depending on the size and capabilities of the equipment. Set-top or Appliance Videoconferencing Systems Set-tops are complete videoconferencing systems designed to sit on a monitor. They are useful in small conference rooms and other small group venues. Set-top video communication systems are often maintained on a cart, making it possible to roll them around for use in different rooms (roll-about). Set-top systems are typically priced between $3,000 and $20,000 each depending on the capabilities of the equipment Desktop Videoconferencing Systems Desktop videoconferencing systems bring video communications into your personal workspace. This technology can deliver full-motion videoconferencing from your PC. Desktop systems have been engineered to accommodate the industry s requirements for standards-based videoconferencing. Today, there are systems available that deliver good quality at a low cost. These systems provide H.323 voice and video, as well as applications sharing. Desktop systems are typically composed of a software package and USB or FireWire camera. Desktop systems normally are priced between $250 and $400. ADVANTAGES OF VIDEO CONFERENCING 1. The IQ of children will definitely increase by teaching through video conferencing. 2. The confidence level of students will increase. 3. The students will learn to interact well and raise doubts, when they see everything in visual form. 4. In the traditional form of teaching, a set of teachers will only be available for teaching a subject. But, when the teaching is done through video conferencing, the experts in various fields will come for teaching so that the students will learn so many new things about the subject. 5. The questioning and getting answer with an expert will make the children sharp. 6. There is no need for students to move from place to place to study in different places, because everything can be made available for them at their place itself. 7. As the education is done in the visual manner, all the subjects can be taught by showing video clips along with lecture in the form of audio, describing the subject. The graphics and animation will enhance the presentation.

3 Education Through Video Conferencing - An Overview 3 8. Since the children are motivated well, children get the analytical mind and they like to do research on everything they see. 9. There is a chance for developing the talents of students such as communication skill, presentation skill and questioning skill. The children will do all these in a competitive way. If one child shows interest in improving the skills, other children in the class will also be interested to come up. 10. The children may continue relationship with the teacher afterwards by way of , chatting or over phone to clear the doubts in the subject. 11. The education in remote places are made possible through video conferencing, where the teachers are not available now and due to that reason many students might have discontinued their studies. 12. Since the students will also appear in video camera while interacting, they will become more bold and knowledgeable when they raise questions to the teachers. Every improvement in the field of education is welcome if the standard of teaching is improved. All the educational institutes should come forward to introduce the education through video conferencing, slowly. They can begin to impart education by experts with some subjects initially, in addition to conventional form of teaching. We hope that in future, all the educational institutes will have the facility of teaching lessons through video conferencing. LIMITATIONS OF VIDEO CONFERENCING Video conferencing isn t just for large businesses. With instant messaging programs supporting one-on-one video chat, and services like Skype making it easier than ever to add multiple people to a video call, the video conference is ubiquitous in Internet culture. However, just because it is commonplace doesn t mean that video conferencing is Technical Issues Videoconferencing relies on multiple pieces of technology if you have four people in a video conference, the conference requires four functional computers, webcams, microphones, and Internet connections. The conference can be brought to a halt, for example, if any one user s computer goes down or an Internet connection lags. Beyond issues with the technology involved, if you have a member of your video conference who runs a different operating system (such as Linux or OS X) or doesn t have a computer that meets the minimum system requirements, getting everyone connected can be difficult. If one of the users has a lower quality webcam or microphone, it can make communication difficult. Service Limitations You can encounter several limitations when using a service for video conferencing, especially a free service. Many free services, such as Skype, AIM, Gmail, and Yahoo! Messenger, have limitations on how many users you can include in a conference even commercial services like Cisco s WebEx limit conferences to seven webcam users. Additionally, the service may go down unexpectedly, bringing your meeting to a premature end.

4 4 IJMRT User Issues You also find yourself at the whim of the users involved on the video conference and their ability to use the technology in front of them. Most people who engage in a video conference will know how to use their hardware, but there are so many different programs and services that provide video conferencing service that even tech-savvy users can run into trouble when using a new and unfamiliar video conferencing service. Communication Issues People react differently to information presented to them via video conference as opposed to a face-to-face meeting. According to Carlos Ferran and Stephanie Watts in their 2008 study on video conferencing, users respond more to how much they like a speaker than the validity of their discussion. Users may also find it harder not to multitask at their computers than they would in a physical meeting. COMPONENTS OF VIDEOCONFERENCING Videoconferencing has three essential components: The equipment at each site that captures the voices and pictures of the participants and converts them to a form that enables transmission over suitable networks. The intervening network that carries the signals between sites. The conference environment or room. Videoconferencing Equipment A basic conference requires three components: a television camera to capture images and convert them into an electrical signal, a microphone to do likewise with the sound, and a CODEC (Coder/ Decoder). The Coder accepts the vision and sound signals (video and audio) and processes them into a suitable format for transmission through the network to the remote site. To receive information the Decoder does the reverse: it accepts the digital signals from the remote site over the network and decodes or converts these into video and audio. Finally this video and audio are fed to a television monitor and loudspeaker to display the pictures and reproduce the sound from the remote site. The Network Two network technologies are mainly employed: The Internet, using Internet Protocol (IP) The dial-up Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) over modified telephone lines. With IP transmission the results can be variable as the videoconference data has to compete with other computing data. ISDN guarantees connections at the selected quality, giving more reliable conferences, but as call charges are levied it is also more expensive than IP.

5 Education Through Video Conferencing - An Overview 5 The Conference Environment The starting point for efficient conferences is an effective conferencing room. Normal rooms or offices will be unsuitable without modification. The human ear can adapt to ambient noise from traffic, heating and so forth, but microphones may emphasise it to the point where communications impossible. The human eye can also adapt to wide variations in scene brightness, for example sunlight streaming through a window. Cameras are not tolerant of high contrast scenes and may even white-out completely. Room acoustics, decoration and several other factors need to be tightly controlled for effective Videoconferencing. See: Videoconferencing is a form of television and has similar guidelines. High contrast or heavily patterned clothes should be avoided. Movement should be minimal. Conferences may suffer from a delay on the sound (up to 0.5 second) and this can be unnerving. Voice switched conferences demand discipline as another site interrupting will switch the picture away from the speaker to the new contributor. GUIDELINES FOR A SUCCESSFUL VIDEOCONFERENCE Introduce all of the participants at your location; encourage the other sited do the same. Announce your name and the location you are participating from. Example, This is Joe California in Washington, DC... When you precede your comments with that simple statement each time a new person begins to speak, participants from all sites will have an idea who is speaking and where they are from. Speak and move naturally, there is no need to yell into the microphone. Maintain eye contact with the people on screen as you would if you were having a meeting in person. The microphones at the UC Washington Center are located on the ceiling; there is no need to look up while speaking. The microphones are very sensitive and can pickup every noise that occurs in the room. Have an agenda. Distribute this agenda to all participants in the conference. Like any other meeting, a videoconference takes less time when there is a clear agenda and will be more successful. Signs of unpreparedness will be magnified in a videoconference. Remember, videoconferences can t always be extended, because the room may not be available after There is a slight delay in transmission due to the nature of the medium. Be sure a person is finished speaking before you speak. Multiple sites speaking at once can cause delays in the switching. Also pause from time to time to allow for questions. Try to be within the camera s field of vision when speaking. CONCLUSION The video conferencing plays a vital role in technical education, as a number of courseware is available online that are being imparted through interactive mode. The academic libraries have realized its benefits and introduced this facility in their institutes. However, in India the service is limited to elite academic institutions and there is a need for other technical institutions to respond to the situation and adopt this advanced pedagogic technology. There are difficulties for some institutions to implement such a costly programme, therefore consortium-based application may benefit many students with the innovative teaching/learning techniques

6 6 IJMRT References

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