How The iPhone 4's New Video Conferencing Can Revolutionize Your Class

The new iPhone 4 is out and it features video calling, a new must-have feature for your class. Whether you’re a teacher, student, or higher ed administrator, this is big news whether you know it or not.
The new iPhone with iOS 4 features a front-facing camera that allows for video conferencing, a feature many users have been clamoring for and there’s a big reason for that: it’s the next generation method of communicating. It’s just like making a normal phone call although now you have the option to click FaceTime and have a video call:

Apple: “FaceTime is going to change the way we communicate forever.”

How Does A Front-Facing Camera Revolutionize My Class?

You may think that a second camera on a phone is nothing big. For most people, it’s a novelty. But consider this: if every student in your class had the new iPhone, it would bring a new method of communication to collaborative classwork, homework, and field trips.

Collaborative Classwork: Using the new iPhone’s front-facing camera, students who are home sick, away on vacation, or just not able to have as much face-to-face time to work on a project together can all interact and converse to discuss the project at hand in a whole new way. Students who are not near laptops or other types of computers will be able to see their classmates, point (using the camera) to different parts of the project to offer a more concrete way to illustrate their point, etc.

Homework Help: Teachers and students can now interact by seeing one another and help one another get through homework out of the classroom. While most teachers would likely cringe at the thought of seeing this much of students outside of the classroom, be careful as it may be the future of homework.

Distance Learning: Thanks to the new iPhone, it’s never been easier for students to take part in distance learning classes. Each student can converse and pose questions to professors by just holding their phone up no matter where they are. Students will no longer need to be tethered to a desktop or laptop in order to take part in distance classes, online course review sessions, or other online learning systems.

A New Type of Field Trip: What if the next field trip your class went on consisted of each students going out in search of something educational by themselves? Each student could show off what they found LIVE from the location they went to. For example, teachers could send out all the students into a specified location, tell them to search for clues you may have planted, a certain type of plant, or any other object and to show off their findings with others using their front-facing cameras. Combine this idea with geocacheing and you may be able to organize Field Trips 2.0, a truly networked way to engage students and enhance learning.