Monday, 17 December 2012

Developing Skills for our Workforce of the Future

Our medical and banking professionals, to name only two sectors, already communicate using video conferencing through using secure video connections similar to those used by students in classrooms. Global workforces of the future will rely more heavily on video collaboration to make their organisations more sustainable, more efficient and more productive.
So I believe developing skills that involve chairing and participating in multipoint video conferences are important skills to have for our young people as they will all be joining a competitive global workforce in the future which will rely on secure video collaboration.

School council members from six primary schools  (aged 7 - 11) in the London Borough of Redbridge met for their multipoint video conference meeting. The schools used a secure and interoperable connection through Janet VC Services to connect with each other over a live video link. During the primary school council meeting - a Year 6 pupil from Highlands Primary (aged 10) chaired the meeting while looking at the screen in front of him which was split into six with a different school in each. The young chairman called the schools names out asking them to unmute and mute each time they had to speak or ask a question. The pupils listened and spoke clearly to communicate with each other over video. They soon realised it was not the same as a face to face meeting. In fact the pupils listened more carefully to each other and spoke even more clearly and formally than they would have in a face to face meeting.

Another pupil, aged 10, who was joint chairing the meeting pressed the button on the microphone watching for the light to switch to red so he knew that mic was muted once his peers had finished speaking. Within 10 minutes of the video conference the pupils were managing the meeting themselves. They had already established the rule that once you finished speaking you mute your mic.

Four secondary schools in Redbridge also met via video conference for their first school council meeting after school to discuss issues and learn more about each others schools. During the meeting the chair of the meeting, a year 9 pupil (aged 14), at Oaks Park High School quickly knew she had to name each school before they spoke and learnt that when asking questions during a multipiont conference each school had to take it in turn to speak. 
The outcomes of the meetings not only brought the local school councils together from across the borough enabling them to share good practice and speak to their peers about common issues but the pupils have learnt  and experienced skills for a meeting via multiple video link. Skills that I predict they will be using on a regular basis in their workplaces. 

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