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 effe 

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