Videoconferencing as a Teaching Tool
Student’s Name
Institution of Learning
Historical Background
In 1994, Congress adopted the Improving America’s Schools Act and a subsequent appropriation
that envisaged $45 million to improve the application of educational technology in American
schools (Johnston & Barker, 2002, p.5). As the result of the following five years, this sum had
been increased to $765 million; therefore, in the light of increasing funding, Congress requested
more convenient evidence that would justify such significant investments. Since then,
researchers dedicated their efforts to find out and bring to life the numerous benefits of video
conferencing as a technology having all prospects to become a fully-recognized teaching tool. As
a result of these strivings, video teaching has become acknowledged at the highest levels. For
instance, in North Carolina’s Technology Competencies for Educators, which is an extremely
specific set of standards, demonstrates that the telecommunications skills of teachers, including
the use of effective distance learning, desktop video conferencing, and teleteaching technologies,
are crucial for learning (Bielefeldt, 2002, p.123).
To speak specifically about the benefits of videoconferencing as a teaching tool, which
were highlighted at the root of the scientific concerns focused on this subject matter, it is worth
highlighting that they can be categorized according to their general and specific impacts. To
begin with the general advantages, in 1998, Hearnshaw (p.52) conducted research in which he
highlighted that videoconferencing is an effective tool for supporting distance learning by linking
up students and tutors as well as for offering means of reassurance and social contact for
students. Moreover, it can be used as a great benefit for schools wanting to increase the degree to
which their students utilize technologies and the communication skills of their students, as well
as to give their students worthwhile opportunities to present their own work and ideas to an 
audience outside their immediate peers (Gage et al., 2002). Therefore, the fact that video
teaching envisages various positive implications has gained a significant scholarly justification.
Specifically, these effects also were reviewed from the perspective of their direct relation
to both students and teachers. For instance, video conferencing allows collaborating with schools
where pupils belong to different cultures, which, in turn, leads to the establishment of the
multicultural relationships and mutual understanding (Cifuentes & Murphy, 2000, p.69).
Simultaneously, it appears as an effective tool that allows interacting with native speakers and as
a result, improves a student’s knowledge of languages (Kinginger, 1998, p.502). Moreover,
considering the direct input of video teaching, research has revealed that it contributes as an
alternative outlet for expression by those normally hampered by poor literacy skills (Eales et al.,
1999). Finally, it is worth mentioning the research dedicated to investigating videoconferencing
from the perspective of students with special education needs. Among numerous benefits, it has
been emphasized that it helps students overcome the feeling of isolation as well as develop
essential social skills by interacting with peers who have similar needs (Thorpe, 1998, p. 395).
Along with the benefits for students, the research dedicated its efforts to reveal the impact
of videoconferencing on teachers, who can use video conferencing to motivate their students,
providing them with the positive role models. For instance, the research conducted by Cifuentes
and Murphy demonstrated that academic aspirations are raised amongst those students
communicating with more assured students (Cifuentes & Murphy, 2000, p.69). In addition, the
above-mentioned research highlighted that videoconferencing allows increasing the audience of
the course as well. Also, the other important point emphasized by the research is that video
conferencing is a useful tool on the road to achieving a better relationship between students and 
teachers, as students feel more comfortable when communicating by distance, which, in turn,
results in more frank interactions (Sharpe et al., 2000, p.61).
Therefore, it is clear that in light of active governmental funding, the topic of the teaching
benefits of video conferencing did not lack the attention of scholars, simultaneously glossing
over the fact that it also can have negative impacts or some pitfalls. However, in 1996, Moore
and Kearsley mentioned that the lack of mobility, face-to-face contact, and sound activation
delays contribute to the appearance of a "transactional distance" that embodies both physical and
psychological effects that must be overcome by the instructor and students (Moore & Kearsley,
1996, p.200). As a follow up, in 1999, Thomas Atkinson also raised the issue of possible
limitations of video conferencing as a teaching tool, presenting in-depth research on this subject.
Another study revealing the possible challenges of videoconferencing is the article presented by
Gillies in 2008, which states that perceived issues of the videoconference in educational settings
can be summarized as relating primarily to issues of flexibility and pedagogy. The category
“flexibility” refers to the fundamental problem of videoconferencing that is based on the
inflexible reliance on technology, while the pedagogical challenges may stem from the limited
way in which the videoconferencing can be perceived (Gillies, 2008, p.109).
 All in all, the above-mentioned works serve as the basis for the position arguing that
interactive videoconferencing creates the environment that requires both students and teachers to
adapt in a specific manner in order to avoid negative and unpredictable outcomes. Naturally, the
topic of the adaptability to video conferencing technologies as a major variable defining its
efficiency as the teaching tool has become the center of current research in this field.
Theory Relevant to Research Questions/Hypotheses
The research relies on two learning theories: Behaviorism and the Social Cultural
Learning Theory. To begin with Behaviorism, it is the theory that focuses its attention on the
field of human behavior that is defined by the stimulus-response associations established in the
learner’s mind (Skinner, 1957). In such a context, behaviorists consider that prior conditioning
and psychological drives existing at the moment of an action are those factors that determine the
behavior of the individual (Parkay & Hass, 2000). Moreover, behaviorists consider that only the
behaviors that can be observed are worth studying; therefore, the actions but not inner or mental
processes are the relevant objects of study (Faryadi, 2007, p.2). This theory finds its multidimensional application in the field of videoconferencing as a teaching tool. For instance, using
the example provided by Paderanga (2013, p.114), during videoconferencing, the student is
provided with the opportunity to speak in front of the camera if he or she answers a situational
question correctly. In this case, the question is a stimulus, the student’s answer is the response,
and the opportunity to speak in front of camera is the reinforcer. Analogically, while assessing
the benefits and disadvantages of videoconferencing, the behaviorist perspective requires taking
into account only those aspects that can be proven with available scientific methods.
Simultaneously, the behaviorist perspective also proposes the specific method of eliciting
better classroom performance, which is called Behavior Modification, which refers to “learning
with a particular intent, namely change” (Ullmann & Krasner, 1965; p. 1). This approach
envisages six essential components, which are the specification of the desired outcome,
development of a positive environment, identification and use of appropriate reinforcers,
reinforcement of behavior patterns, reduction in the frequency of rewards, and evaluation and
assessment of the effectiveness of the approach (Parkay & Hass, 2000). Using this method while 
implementing videoconferencing seems especially justified while assessing its pros and cons as
well as the cause-and-effect relationship.
The second theoretical framework that informs the research is the Social Cultural
Learning Theory, which focuses its attention on the links between the social world and cognitive
development from the perspective defined by Lev Vygotsky (1998). The theory considers not
only the impacts of the interpersonal relationship between teacher and students, but also a
broader socio-cultural influence on learning and the learning environment (Lantoff, 2008). In this
context, the concept of culture has a significantly broad meaning, covering socially-accepted
behaviors, beliefs, and generally, interactions as the products of human development (Shabani,
2016, p.5). Simultaneously, Vygotsky (as cited in Veer, 1996) considers that culture itself
influences human mental functioning and behavior; therefore, humans not only create their
culture, but also are impacted by it, being the products of culture as well.
One of the most significant insights found out as the result of Vygotsky’s work states that
social interaction is the basis of learning and development, and learning itself appears as a
process of internalization in which skills and knowledge are transformed from the social into the
cognitive plane (Walqui, 2006, p.10). Putting this idea into the context of videoconferencing as a
teaching tool, it is worth mentioning that it highlights the benefits of student-centered teaching,
whereby the student can efficiently progress within their potential towards a learning outcome
(as cited in Alpay, n.d.). What is the role of the teacher in this case is that he or she should
appear as a role model, demonstrating the behavior needed to be employed by the students
through the internationalization of the information and using it to guide their own behavior.
Performing this role could be done utilizing the model of professional development consisting of 
seven types, which are training, observation/assessment, mentoring, inquiry/action, individuallyguided activities, and involvement in a development process and study groups (Guskey, 2000).
As a result, the above-mentioned theories present two different perspectives on learning
and therefore, enrich the research with relevant ideas regarding the effects of videoconferencing
as a teaching tool. From one side, the behaviorist perspective provides a vision to make it clear
how to use videoconferencing to achieve its benefits. Simultaneously, from the other side, the
Social Cultural Learning Theory provides insights into how teachers should behave in order to
avoid the unpredictable outcomes mentioned by Moore, Kearsley, Atkinson, and other authors
that dedicated their works to reveal the negative effects and possible pitfalls of
Current Empirical Literature Relevant to Research Questions/Hypotheses
The analysis of the current empirical literature has revealed three major anchors
underlying this field of study as well as highlighted the existing pitfalls and gaps. The first one
refers to the continuing findings emphasizing the positive impact of videoconferencing on the
outcome of teaching and learning. For instance, the study presented in 2014 by Lydie Paderanga
strives to investigate the educational workability of using classroom video conferencing as an
instructional approach in teaching peace education, as well as compare the effect of video
conferencing and the traditional approach of teaching peace education (p.113). The results of the
study demonstrate that video conferencing can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of
teaching peace education as well as provide students with the opportunity to relate with their
peers from distant schools, and develop social and communication skills resulting in a higher
self-esteem—which, in turn, would have been not possible in a regular classroom (Paderanga, 
2014, p. 119). Simultaneously, this research indicates the influence of such technologies as video
conferencing on the roles of teachers. In this context, it is shown that their role shifted from
information dispenser to curriculum planner, facilitator, guide, mentor, knowledge navigator,
consultant, and even co-learner with the students (Paderanga, 2014, p. 119). These results
highlight that the teachers should reconsider their role to train accordingly and adapt new skills
to their pedagogy.
Also, Alice Tom in her work “Videoconferencing as a disruptive innovation: An
empirical case study of English language learning in China” provides the analysis of empirical
data to assess the potentially disruptive innovation of using videoconferencing platforms for
classroom teaching as well as evaluates the pedagogical innovations selected to teach a
culturally- and age-appropriate English language learning course for young learners (2015, p.2).
The findings of the study demonstrated prevailingly successful results. Specifically, those
learners who were exposed to an English language learning class using a videoconferencing
platform showed statistically significant learning gains compared to students who received
traditional instruction (Tom, 2015, p.2).
Concurrently, some studies define the variables related to students’ motivation as
important factors influencing the successful outcomes of videoconferencing. For instance, the
study presented by Malinovski and colleagues in 2015 investigated adult students’ subjective
perceptions while utilizing distance education systems based on a videoconferencing platform
Quality of Experience (p.1). The analysis showed that adult students’ QoE is directly impacted
by the appropriateness of teacher-student interaction and ease of participation as well as was
predicted by students’ motivation to attend similar training (Malinovski, 2015, p.1). Therefore, 
this study considers the students’ cognitive readiness to experience videoconferencing as
important factors influencing the outcome of teaching.
The review of the current literature revealed that often teachers demonstrate an
“unwelcome” attitude towards videoconferencing. In a study presented in 2016, Drexhage and
colleagues strove to investigate how trainee teachers evaluate working with videoconferencing
technologies and therefore, to figure out to what extent video conferences present a real
opportunity to link theory and practice in teacher training (p.83). As a result of the study
conducted, the trainee teachers recognized the advantages of video conferencing, highlighting
the exchange between all parties, the lesson observations in real surroundings, and the
opportunity to implement one’s own teaching ideas (Drexhage et al., 2016, p.83). Nevertheless,
the study also revealed the need for enhancements, such as those related to technical aspects. The
experiment also shows that trainee teachers often have greater regard for authentic classroom
activities (Drexhage et al., 2016, p.84). Also, in a study presented by Connell and colleagues in
2013, the authors provide the analysis of the reflections of the teacher-participants and
facilitators, which revealed that teachers prefer face-to-face meetings (p.267). In addition, the
study demonstrated that teachers perceive videoconferencing as an effective tool when distance
and time are practical barriers to face-to-face meetings (Connell et al., 2012, p.267).
While analyzing the current empirical literature, it is worth discussing the existing
contradictions that need to be addressed in further research. The study performed by Khanfar and
colleagues was aimed at revealing and exploring the factors that impact student performance in a
pharmacy management courses delivered by interactive video conferencing (2008, p.1). On the
basis of obtained findings, the authors point out that the presence of an instructor in the
classroom has a mixed effect on student performance; therefore, videoconferencing technologies 
should be utilized. Also, taking into account that there were three different instructors teaching
the course, it is assumed that the teaching style could be the reason for the mixed effect for the
teacher’s presence. As a result, the article concludes that administrators should assign the
teachers with teaching styles that match such an instructional environment created by
videoconferencing teaching technologies (Khanfar et al., 2008, p.10).
On the other side, in 2008, Gillies conducted the research aimed at improving the quality
of video teaching through the investigation of the students’ perspectives on the importance of
teaching approaches and active student engagement as well as how these aspects can be better
addressed within the videoconference format. As a result of Gillies’ empirical study, it has been
confirmed the majority of the challenges discussed in the literature, such as those relating to
benefits of access, immediacy, social presence, and social bonding; technological limitations;
the risks of student disengagement; the need for staff training; and reduced flexibility (Gillies,
2008, p.114). Simultaneously, the authors propose new perspectives on the topic, which refers to
four main aspects: interaction, tutor contact, physical space, and teacher education (Gillies, 2008,
p.114). For instance, in terms of physical environment, students felt that the it needs to be
conducive to learning and studying, while in the context of tutor contact, students seemed to
place a higher value on tutor contact during the videoconference, than on issues of pedagogy
(Gillies, 2008, p.114). When combining these results with those obtained by Khanfar and
colleagues, it is clear that the assessments of the importance of pedagogy and teaching style are
diametrically opposed, which appears as a significant issue existing in the current literature.
The Limitations of the Current Empirical Literature
The review of the current empirical literature has highlighted the issues needed to be
addressed in further research. For instance, considering the weaknesses of the Khanfar’s and
colleagues’ article, it is worth highlighting the relatively small size of the sample, which can
influence the overall objectivity. The same judgment can refer to the work of Alice Tom.
Therefore, the future research should include more courses and increase the sample size.
Also, some of the findings can be argued because of the incomplete research
methodology. For instance, Drexhage’s and colleagues’ study does not reveal the background of
the trainee teachers in relation to their skills and awareness of technologies; therefore, the finding
demonstrating trainee teachers’ greater regard for authentic classroom activities may be
somehow biased. The same judgment also finds its place when analyzing the study of Connell
and colleagues.
Overall, the further research should focus its attention on the existing contradictions that
need to be addressed, such as those represented in Khanfar’s and colleagues and Gillies’ articles.
The opposing views on the same subject significantly undermine the possibility to reach a
scholarly consensus on the subject-matter; therefore, this implicatio 

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