Uses of Videoconferencing
ViDe Videoconferencing Cookbook
There are many opportunities for enhancing
education with videoconferencing. These include remote-teacher/remote-specialist
applications, as well as classroom-to-classroom interaction. It can also
be scaled to more than 2 sites, allowing virtual education "teams" to
be created. It can used in the K-12 education system, as well as in-house
corporate training, government services coordination e.g. for emergency
services, and many other education areas. In most cases the equipment can
be scaled to suit the situation, allowing for a regularly scheduled education
program in fixed locations, or conversely supporting high-impact once-off
events such as a visiting dignitary or specialist. It can be used to link
sites within a region, or scaled up to international sizes. In the K-12
sector for example this allows students to interact with students their
own age in other languages and cultures.
In the remote-teacher approach, a simple
H.323 system, attached to a TV or a projector allows a class to interact
with a remote instructor. Depending on the situation, the remote instructor
may use a fixed or a mobile system (e.g. a zookeeper, or museum staffer),
or include a mixture of live and recorded video (e.g. for medical training).
Most H.323 (and other video-conference) systems allow for flexible encoding
arrangements, where a camera can be managed separately to the encoding
device. Typically the receiving site is fixed, such as a classroom, but
the interaction still works in both directions. By using a "multipoint-conference-unit"(MCU)/"bridge",
or some form of network multicast, more than 2 sites can be supported at
the same time, and all participants can interact with each other, if that
suits the occasion. It should be noted though that most education events
tend to be "lecture-mode", which is predominantly (but not entirely)
one way. Managing audio and video in both directions can be a major technical
challenge in some situations, e.g. in large lecture theatres with hundreds
of participants. The human eye and ear can focus much better than their
There are many projects active around the
world today. One excellent mailing list focused on the K12 sector is the
Ed1VidConf list, at
To subscribe (join the listserv), send mail to
with ONLY the message in the body of the email subscribe ed1vidconf yourfirstname yourlastname.
Many virtual field trips sites are still
H.320 based though we expect that there will be a significant shift to
the H.323 standard in the immediate future. Two sites with many K-12
SBC's Videoconferencing Adventures 
and the Michigan based
TWICE (Two Way Interactive Collaborations in Education) .
Another large-scale project, which combines
H.323 (Internet-based) and H.320 (ISDN-based) videoconferencing with satellite
transmission, is the World Bank's
Global Development Learning Network .
The GDLN aims to support developing countries with education and policy
support from other countries in their own region and the rest of the world.
Typically it is aimed at Universities, government departments and Non-Governmental-Organization
(NGO's). Around 100 sites will be connected to the GDLN by around 2005.