What if you could actively participate in a class that takes place on a campus on the other side of the world, not only watching a live stream but actually interacting with the teacher and writing your solution on the whiteboard?
What if you could be physically present on a campus on the other side of the world and talking to your professor before walking into the next class while sitting at home on your computer?
Futuristic you say? Wrong. Take a look at the two videos below and see what is already possible today.
I think this is an amazing use case of a virtual classroom / interactive whiteboard in a classic education environment. You could imagine a regular class with added remote students from across the globe and it would also be great for students who are not able to come to school because of an injury like a broken leg. I had this once during my school time and I had to spend weeks in the hospital which is not an uncommon case. Being able to still attend the regular classes would help students in this situation a lot.
Scribblar has been developed by Stefan Richter, one of most renown Flash developers in Europe. As an interesting side fact you need to know that the Dimdim webmeeting is based on his technology and hence the classroom that a platform like Myngle is using today.
To me Scribblar is one of the most interesting whiteboard / virtual classroom tools right now. Similar to Dabbleboard it is rock solid but Scribblar also enables you to connect your Skype account directly with it which is a feature I absolutely love. Scribblar is available for free, there is also a paid premium option available for those who would like to have a customized version.
As Vikrama Dhiman pointed out correctly, there are a lot of emotional benefits in actually being on a campus hence let us take the idea a step further. What about remote controlled robots?
Of course, the price tag is very hefty but on the other hand, so were the tags on the first televisions, video recorders and personal computers, right? Even this very early model of Anybots shows us already what is possible (and how fun it is to control a drone).
My point is that I don’t think that there will be a really radical change coming to education and the institutions involved in it. What we will see are tools that will make education more accessible on the one hand but also more convenient on the other hand.
In the perfect case universities will be able to sign up more students from around the globe without the need to scale up their physical campus, hence they will be able to cut down the fees. Students will be able to sign up for universities from across the globe without the need to relocate and travel and this way save on costs. Therefore, education in general will be more affordable to a broader audience again.