WebRTC World Feature Article

May 12, 2014

Speaking Exchange Project Embraces the Power of Video Communications


Not all students have the chance to study abroad, travel or experience and interact with cultures directly. At the same time, not all retired seniors have the companionship they really need. So, what do you do with a group of Brazilian students looking to hone in on their English-speaking skills and a group of seniors from a retirement home just looking for somebody to talk to? Pair them together via video conferencing – it’s the pen pals program of our generation.

FCB Brazil and the CNA language school recently launched Speaking Exchange, an educational project that connects students and seniors over the Internet. The project has pedagogical and social monitoring of CNA – after engaging in a conversation the tool uploads the video to a private YouTube channel for teacher evaluations. For now, the project is in beta.

Speaking Exchanges uses the Internet to connect students with seniors, but it requires a free app to install in the users’ computers. In other words, it’s not using WebRTC, since WebRTC is completely free of plugins, downloads or installations, but it highlights the potential of this type of technology and the growing number of uses integrating Web-based Internet real-time communications.

We’ve talked about the benefits of video conferencing for online education, and have seen companies trying to jump on that opportunity with services like Google Helpouts. The tools to make education more accessible, collaborative and productive are here, which is helping fuel the growth of projects like Speaking Exchange.

The goal behind Speaking Exchange is to make communications and relationships more accessible, bridging the gap between distance and learning. The project looks at online communications to “make it more real. More human.”

Check out the video below, with a group of seniors from Windsor Park retirement home connecting with students in Brazil. It’s such a simple idea, but is so powerful for both groups. That’s the beauty of real time communications. 




Edited by Maurice Nagle



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