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WebRTC Offers Many Uses for Education

September 05, 2014

Want to understand the substance behind the hype when it comes to WebRTC? Look no further than the education market.

When it comes to immediate applicability, it is hard to argue for a better use case for WebRTC than education. Unlike corporations, which have IT departments and staff that can be trained on vide conferencing software, educational institutions are both faced with a constant supply of new users and a challenge in training them to use new software. This makes WebRTC, which only requires a modern browser for video conferencing, an ideal solution.

The need and uses for videoconferencing within education also are vast. More than 2 million students have signed up for online education since 2011, and virtual education is exploding as a way to share knowledge. Yet, online education often is cold and impersonal, and dropout rates are higher than with traditional classrooms. The use of videoconferencing can change that, however, making online education a virtual classroom, but not a lonely or impersonal one.

Just as important, the range of modalities that WebRTC can offer can be a big help in teaching students according to their respective learning style. Not all learners are the same; some learn best visually, while others are more auditory or kinesthetic (hands-on).

With WebRTC, teachers can better adapt coursework for students based on their learning style. For instance, screen-sharing can be used for visual learners, chat for verbal learners, or video for auditory learners.

Many companies have already seen the potential for WebRTC in the education market; two standouts are TokBox and Vidyo.

TokBox powers live, face-to-face video tutoring services and applications and includes tools such as digital whiteboards and interactive lab experiments to improve the student experience. UCLA works with TokBox to offer live group video chat sessions with a professor on UCLA’s virtual campus, and the company powers Zoen (Zenph Online Education Network), a network for music teachers and students.

Vidyo, which does telepresence for businesses, also has its Vidyo for Education. The solution helps schools enable multipoint video conferencing for a fraction of the cost of conventional video systems. It offers HD-quality video conferencing, recording and webcasting, collaborative tools, mobility features and information services as a resource for projects.

These are just two companies that have seen the potential. Everyone from startups such as the Russian language learning site, Studyflow, to larger organizations such as US Telecom are incorporating WebRTC into their education offerings.


Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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