January 31, 2010

Skype in the Classroom

Filed under: February 2010,Tech Tutorials — mbrown @ 7:51 pm

… discover the possibilities

Skype is free video conferencing software that can be downloaded to any computer and used with a Web cam that can be purchased for as little as $20 at any store that sells computer accessories. Although it has been around for years, the recent widespread use of Skype on the Oprah show has allowed teachers to see its ease of use demonstrated and find creative ways to use it in the classroom. Schools who thought that incorporating video conferencing into their classrooms would mean incurring expensive equipment and training costs are now finding that Skype software can easily be implemented by teachers or students in a matter of minutes.

Here are some of the ways teachers are using Skype in the classroom:

  • Collaborative research projects with students in other schools
  • Question and answer sessions with experts or presenters
  • Speech and communication projects to a remote audience
  • Practice foreign language skills with a class in a country that speaks that native language
  • Professional development and collaboration sessions with other teachers
  • Conduct parent teacher conferences
  • Allow students who are absent or have special needs to participate in class activities
  • Virtual office hours for homework help

The great thing is that Skype can be combined with other free software such as Google Docs or wikis, which allow users to store a document online and make changes to it simultaneously, to really enhance collaborative projects. Here are two links to schools that are using Skype in creative ways; visit these sites to find inspiration for your own classroom:

Arisley School

CoolCat Teacher: Using Skype in the Classroom

Go to http://skype.com to download Skype and get started!

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