Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has been around for years now and even available free of charge to users. Facebook Messenger and Google Hangout are fine examples of free VoIP service systems, albeit with differences on how users can utilize them when making audio or video calls via the Internet.
FB Messenger VoIP or audio/video call messaging between FB connected users is possible only by way of mobile phones. Use is free if the audio or video call carries on via Wifi connection. Although still available even without Wifi by using data, VoIP will no longer be free, as charges will be made on the user’s data plan.
The Google Hangout app on the other hand allows VoIP calls between personal computers, landlines and mobile devices. Users though must have a Google Voice number (also free) in order to receive and make VoIP calls. Similar to the Messenger VoIP system, Wifi connection is necessary to keep Google Hangout audio/video calls free. A great thing about Google Hangout/Google Voice is that it permits audio/video conferencing with up to 10 participants.
FB and Google free audio/video call systems make VoIP highly appealing to use as tool in an educational environment.
Uses and Potential Benefits of VoIP in Educational Institutions
Communication in a learning institution is very important as educational collaborators, parents and students need to interact constantly, regardless of economical condition and location.
VoIP use, presents benefits that are realizable over a course of time since it permits fast and instant audio calls that go directly to individuals concerned. This stands in contrast to usual problems associated with Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).
PSTN makes communication possible only if the phone at the other end of the line is not in use; or if the person for whom the call is intended is available to answer the call. In fact, VoIP eliminates the need to make individual calls, since it allows making simultaneous calls to different recipients.
School Administrators of various districts can be present in interdistrict meetings by way of video conferencing; eliminating the need to be away from their school base. That being the case, school superintendents enjoy greater flexibility in using time at work to cover a broad range of responsibilities; including collaborating with or in addressing issues raised by community interest groups and/or advocates.
Teachers can make instant calls to their students even after school hours and during weekends; let us say for additional instructions or to convey important updates. Students on the other hand, can engage and actively participate in study groups right in the comfort and safety of their own homes.
In recent events, in which the safety of students in schools have been compromised, either due to natural disasters or unexpected developments, parents were afforded with means to instantly and directly call their children and teachers, to ask about their condition and whereabouts.