Skype in the classroom is a new service currently in beta, which uses skyping to support teaching and teachers. Service capabilities include:
- Using skype to connect with other teachers
- Sharing teaching resources
- Building your own list of favorite Internet destinations – a teaching library
- Pairing classrooms across the world
The Skype in the classroom website explains the many ways in which teachers use Skype services to enrich their teaching. For example, The Global Learning Exchange uses Skype to pair classrooms in California and Singapore for cultural learning exchange among students. Teach the World Online also uses Skype to teach English online; currently, they describe active teaching programs on-going with students in Haiti, Nepal and Cambodia.
Some Additional Ideas for Using Skype in Teaching
- Enabling students to see, hear, and speak with people whom they are studying – such as authors, painters, community leaders, producers, athletes, survivors, kids from other cultures
- Online field trips - budget-friendly, time-efficient alternatives to actually leaving the classroom (although we hope that SOME field trips remain real-life adventures)
- Field trips to destinations which are too far for the class to reach on their own – think North Pole, Antarctica, Kennedy Space Center, Hawaii’s volcanos, JPL and the Mars rovers; working with museum curators and scientists can help put these places within reach of the classroom using Skype
- Foreign language practice
- After school help or sick-day attendance from home
- Guest lecturers and speakers
From this list, it’s clear that there is a big role for parents to play in using Skype, along with teachers. Parents who want to supplement classroom learning, can do so from home. Parents can also encourage interests and help their children to develop new skills using Skype.
Skype in the classroom is offered by Skype. Skype also offers a community on its main website, on which teachers and others can share how they use the service. However, these communities are more general, without the focus on teachers offered at the Skype in the classroom site.