Penny Holland stared in wonder and trepidation at the tiny camera shaped like an eyeball. As she and other Virginia teachers listened, a technology instructor explained that she could use the "web cam" to set up live question-and-answer sessions between her students and guest lecturers around the world.

Holland, who teaches world geography at Williamsburg Middle School in Arlington, Va., had not seriously considered that idea before. But as the instructor described how to do

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