Chapter 17. Ten Ways to Use Skype at School

Schools have outgrown inkwells, slates, and typewriters. Email, instant messaging, and the Internet have opened the classroom to the world. Skype empowers students and teachers even further by adding features for collaboration, live video, and instant file sharing. This chapter offers some ways to energize school and learning with Skype.

Connect to the World on a Teacher's Budget

Telephones are a scarce commodity in classrooms. Telephones with international calling plans ... well, we haven't seen one of those yet in a classroom (unless it's a teacher's personal cell phone). The impact and benefit of students speaking with students across the globe brings an authenticity to education that adds immeasurably to both textbooks and Web references. Skype makes it easy to connect to other people, other cultures, and other countries. Classrooms may not have telephones, but they are often wired for the Internet. Skype is a service that teachers and students can access using the hardware they already have in their rooms. It's common knowledge that teachers spend, on average, $500 out of their own pockets to stock their classrooms. Skype fits into a teacher's budget. It's free.

Master a Foreign Language (Or Practice a Phrase)

The old pen-pal model takes on a new approach when the pen is a mouse and a microphone and the paper is virtual. Having students speak to each other over Skype benefits each language group simultaneously. Of course, the knotty question ...

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