In recent years, we have seen a revolution in the workplace, as companies come around to realizing that the traditional idea of work--commute to office, work at office, leave office--is a largely outmoded notion that doesn’t jibe with the way we think about time and space in the 21st century. The world we live in now is defined by malleability and flux, as we can take work with us wherever we go and, in many cases, adjust work schedules to meet our needs.
With cloud-based conferencing solutions that are easily accessible on laptops and tablets and phones, companies can save money and increase employee productivity. A remote workforce allows companies to cut down on travel expenses and costly office space, while productivity increases with flexible scheduling and improved job satisfaction.
But there is no reason this digital revolution should be limited to the workplace. In fact, if there is one realm where video conferencing makes the most sense, it is the world of higher education.
Of course, there are so many things about college that cannot be experienced via video. Moving away from home is a huge milestone for teenagers, and for now, there is no digital process that replicates such a life-changing experience. This is not to mention the necessary growing pains that attend such time-honored traditions as getting along with pesky roommates and getting to the dining hall in time for breakfast and balancing sleep with socializing.
The joy and labor of learning and studying, however, is ripe for a digital revolution, and the same benefits that accrue to workers who have access to video conferencing solutions can and should also be enjoyed by students.
Students of today have grown up on video. They’ve grown up making videos for Instagram. They’ve grown up watching videos on YouTube. They’ve grown up talking to each other on FaceTime or Skype. They are ahead of the curve. These are not aging employees who need training. They have the skills necessary to navigate a video-enabled education. All they need is access to the tools.
College is a lot of things. It is a chance to expand horizons. It is an incredible opportunity to make friends. It is a place to experiment with new ways of being. It is also preparation for the world of work. And if the world of work is increasingly defined by video conferencing and collaboration solutions, the students preparing to enter that world should be immersed in cutting edge technology from the get go. To deprive them of these tools in college is to cheat them out of experiences that are crucial for navigating the modern workplace.
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