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Skype in the Classroom

By Charles G. Doe - Posted Nov 6, 2013
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Company: Skype in the classroom; email: education@skype.net; website: education.skype.com. This is operated by Skype, a subsidiary of Microsoft. No other contact information is available on the website. The project can also be accessed on such social media sites as Facebook (facebook.com/skypeintheclassroom) or Twitter (@skype) classroom).

Price: Skype in the classroom is free, but a Skype account is necessary at $2.99 a month to $13.99 for world calling, plus small per-minute charges.

Audience: This can be used at any grade level with the limitation that teachers would do or direct the Skyping, especially with younger children. Projects are available for all ages.

Format: Projects can be in any format desired that is possible on the internet. They are limited only by the creativity of the large Skype in the classroom community.

System Requirements: As stated previously, a Skype account is required as are webcams, Smart Boards, or projectors to make computer screens large enough for whole classes or large groups to see.

REPORT CARD
Overall Rating:5 Stars
Installation:A
Content/Features:A
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:A

 

Description: Skype is an internet-based communications technology that can be used to connect classrooms the world over for projects using voice, video, or text.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: This is a matter of opening a Skype account and being sure an internet-connected computer is available with a webcam and projector or Smart Board. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: Skype in the classroom is directed by Skype to encourage teachers to use Skype with students to connect them with students and teachers around the world. The idea is much the same as when I connected with classes via the internet when that became possible in classrooms about 20 years ago.

One important difference is that video is possible with Skype, which leads to many creative and interesting possibilities. Also, the increased speed and power of the internet and the enormous number of people using it has increased the possibilities.

In addition to many creative Skype lessons and projects created by teachers, guest speakers and project partners are available and organized by subject. The many resources include videos, links, tips, and articles to help teachers use Skype. These can be searched by keyword, or resources can be filtered by language, category, and the ages of student the lessons relate to.

Teachers can create their own projects and get other teachers and classes to join them from around the world, or a number of excellent lessons and projects are ongoing and can be joined by teachers. One example is explorer Mark Wood calling the British International School in Phuket, Thailand on Skype. Students learned all about time zones, Mark Wood’s expeditions, and his upcoming expedition to the Arctic Circle. Check the website for many more excellent examples.

Guest speakers from all over the world brought in by Skype and the global guessing game called Mystery Skype are among the fascinating projects and resources that get kids learning with Skype. Communities of participating teachers and students further promote these and other activities. These communities are said to involve more than 70,000 teachers around the world.

Not only can participant communities be accessed on the Skype in the classroom website, participation is encouraged through social media activities such as Facebook and Twitter. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: Skype in the classroom materials are extremely easy to use once Skype is mastered. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: The best way to get in touch with the Skype in the classroom support team is through Twitter (@skypeclass
room). Teachers can also send an email (education@skype.net). (Please allow up to 1 working day for a response.) Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation: Social media is so important to students these days that using it in educational settings is extremely important. Skype in the classroom offers a number of wonderful and fascinating ways of doing that, and I highly recommend it for all grade levels. Highly Recommended.

Reviewer: Charles Doe (chasgd62@gmail.com) is a 39-year teacher, including 10 years as elementary media specialist in Hastings Area Schools in Michigan. For the past 15 years, he has written articles and reviews for Internet@Schools


 
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