Google wants more teachers to use its Google+ Hangouts video chat platform as a means of delivering virtual field trips in the classroom. To that end, the company is launching ‘Connected Classrooms‘, a new initiative that helps educators link up with organizations that can provide an interesting tour or discussion via Hangouts on Air.

It’s pretty simple in practice. On the site teachers can find a calendar of past and upcoming Google+ Hangouts, which they can then register for clicking through to the relevant event page on Google+. Teachers can then confirm their interest, giving organizations a better idea of how much interest there is for a particular idea or venue they have.

Minnesota Zoo, Seattle Aquarium, the American Museum of Natural History and the Philadelphia Museum of Art are just a handful of virtual tour guides that have already confirmed their interest in the scheme. This promotional video will give you an idea of what’s on offer:

The Connected Classrooms site also links through to a dedicated Google+ Community page where teachers can learn more about these virtual field trips and what’s currently available to their students. It’s a novel idea that should promote the use of Google+ Hangouts in schools and by extension, some of its other services and hardware.

Skype in the Classroom, watch out.

Announcing Connected Classrooms on Google+