We often hear about the use of video conferencing for professional communication and as a modern way to work together. So much sometimes, that we forget how large the potential is even beyond that. For instance, it can be used for TeleEducation (a type of Telepresence).
What is TeleEducation?
TeleEducation usually replicates a guided way of learning wherein a presenter, expert or teacher speaks to the “class” from a remote location with the use of unified communication technologies such as video conferencing, often with additional content channel for demonstration and data presentation. LifeSize, for instance, is organizing great virtual field trips for classes to be connected directly into museums, where their guide can teach them in a way that is exciting for both presenting party and participants.
Teachers from OuterSpace
China is taking this approach one step higher – above stratosphere to be exact. Yesterday we received word that Wang Yaping, in her capacity as Taikonaut, has facilitated such a TeleEducation event from the space station Tiangong1 together with her team. The space video conference was set up with an auditorium in Beijing, hosting more than 300 students. The three Taikonauts demonstrated the effect of zero gravity and weightlessness to physics and answered questions from the students live.
Another 60 million students followed the live video stream from their classrooms throughout the country. Now that’s a serious audience there! While this event was broadcasted on a stateowned CCTV technology, the next event like this might already be facilitated using IP video streaming solutions. If that was the case, the event could be natively recorded and stored on videoondemand platforms to be seen by many generations of students to come.
About the Station
The Tiangong1 space station was launched in September 2011 and mainly has experimental functions and holds three crew members. It is considered a large step towards a Chinese space laboratory, to be completed by about 2020. Tiangong1 (Chinese: 天宫一号) literally means “Heavenly Palace 1” and is the first space station deployed by the Chinese space program. The module 1 has a planned lifespan of 2 years and is planned to be replaced by larger modules throughout the decade. We wish best success and hopes for many more TeleEducation events.