Classroom video conferencing brings the rainforest to the students in this lesson.

HowStuffWorks

Not every child wakes up eager to go to school. But if that child's day involved visiting with other school children in Zimbabwe, touring a Brazilian rainforest or interviewing an astronaut, she might be more inclined to get out of bed.

Enter classroom video conferencing, an evolving teaching method that is enhancing learning from kindergarten to graduate school. Video conferencing enables people at separate locations to communicate using video and audio transmissions, and it isn't just for corporate meetings and television broadcasters anymore.

With the advancements in technology that have occurred in the last several years, more educators are pulliĀ­ng video conferencing into their classrooms. In addition to the many colleges around the world that use classroom video conferencing, approximately 25 percent of public, primary and secondary schools in the United States supplement their curriculums with video conferencing education [source: Greenberg].

Like the telephone and the Internet, video conferencing equipment can break down barriers of time, distance and expense by connecting people from all areas of the globe in real time.

In this article, you'll learn about the different uses of classroom video conferencing, the technology that makes it work and what you'll need to get started.

While the ultimate benefits of video conferencing in the classroom depend on how effectively a teacher uses it, successful stories of its incorporation abound. Take a look at some noteworthy uses of the tool next.