I was at a meeting yesterday (actually it was my fourth meeting of the day) where we were finalizing plans for a new classroom being outfitted for the latest and greatest in technology for our education students. It’s going to have most of the bells and whistles that teachers today need to learn about. During a discussion of “video conferencing” I learned that I have been using that term incorrectly for about the past 18 years. That’s quite a track record of incorrect usage. I apologize to all whom I may have confused with my mis-use of the term.
“Video conferencing,” as I now understand it, is a term used to describe the system and technology by which video (and audio) from one location are sent directly, in both directions, between two or more locations. That is distinct from “web conferencing” in which the internet is used as a go-between and conduit between two locations to enable video and audio communication. (Think Skype for an example of web conferencing.) In both “video conferencing” and “web conferencing” participants can see and hear each other in (almost) real time. However, the quality of the experience in video conferencing is much higher than it is in web conferencing. The cost of a video conferencing system is also much higher.
It was sort of interesting to look across the room and see, in person, one of my blog readers in attendance at the meeting. As I learned the difference between video conferencing and web conferencing, I said, “I’m going to have to blog about this.” When I caught her eye we both realized that this story was going to have to appear in this space.
So, don’t say “video conferencing” when you really mean “web conferencing.” It will confuse the techies. Until they realize that you probably don’t know what you are talking about.