Many have discovered the wonders of Skype, the free video calling service, accessible anywhere there’s wifi. However, few have taken full advantage of Skype as an educational tool. Skype’s interactive features and synchronous communication abilities make it an ideal educational tool.
For example, Skype could be used for the following activities:
- Video conference with an author, scientist, historian, or some other expert in a particular field
- Hold a classroom discussion between classrooms in other cities, states, or countries
- Practice a second language with native speakers
- Make a presentation using the screen sharing feature without stepping into the room
- Instant message with faculty, administration, and parents for immediate responses to queries
These are just a few basic ideas, but there is plenty more out there to explore. The following is a list of resources to get you started:
- “How to Use Skype in the Classroom” is a PDF with many Skype basics as well as a list of 50(!) ways one can use Skype in the classroom.
- This post titled “Ten Ways to Use Skype” also includes a list of companion tools, communities, global projects, and education directories.
- This blog post by a Spanish teacher details some key do’s and don’t's for Skype use in the classroom.
How have you used Skype with your classroom? What Skype features have you found to be the most useful? What are some other synchronous like Skype that you’ve tried?
Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center. His Skype name is zac.early, in case you were wondering.