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Skype in the Classroom

Skype offers the opportunity for communication in three ways:
  • Text: This is similar to instant messaging
  • Voice: This is an online phone call
  • Video: This is a visual image of the caller
These three can be combined and facilitate communication between 2 to 100 people!

Benefits of Skype:
  • Conversations can also be recorded and kept for future reference or posted online.
  • Communication between Skype members is free.
  • The ability to combine video, text and audio is greater than any of these by themself.

What you will need:
  • A earphones
  • A microphone (this may be attached to the earphone headset)
  • A webcam (this is only necessary if you wish to use the video feature)
  • A computer on which to install Skype:
  1. Install Skype by going to the website.
  2. Click "Install Skype".
  3. A popup box will ask if you wish to "run" or "save" the program. Click "run". The dowlaod should begin. Another box may ask if you wish to run this software. Click "run".
  4. Follow the setup wizard to install the program.
  5. An icon will now appear on your desktop at start up.
How to use Skype:
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Educational uses for Skype:
  • Classes can communicate with experts or authors
  • Classes can communicate with other classes from around the world
  • Students can communicate with their classmates
  • Teachers can communicate with their students
  • Teachers can communicate with each other
  • Teachers can develop professionally

Examples of Skype in education:
Classes can "meet" authors online, thereby minimizing travel expenses and allowing more opportunities to chat virtually with a variety of authors. It may also be easier to find experts who will commit to coversing over skype for 30 minutes rather than devote 2 days of travel time.
Classes can talk to skype pals from other countries, and even practice their foriegn language skills!
Students can collaborate on projects and homework in a way that is more productive than one of the 3 communication methods alone. (Think of a student trying to communicate a geography or geometry assignment on the phone... now imaginge the same student using her voice and a video image to identify the country on a map or explain the problem.)
Professional development opportunities
Administrators can interview potential faculty since software is free and easy to use and hardware is inexpensive.

Additional Resources:
Using Skype at School
See Me, Hear Me: Skype in the Classroom