Skype has always been a leader in online video calls. However, that same platform can be used for more than talking to friends. The Skype in the Classroom program allows students and teachers to interact with and learn from people around the world.
I was invited to the Skype Global Learning Lab to learn about how Skype in the Classroom works and witness some of the Skype lessons. The benefits that students can receive from this program are huge.
With the use of Skype, students can now have guest speakers from all over the world. These are just some of the lessons that can be conducted by guest speakers using Skype in the Classroom:
1. Questions and Answers – At the event I attended we watched a video of a Skype Call in which TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie answered the questions of curious 10th grade students from Lake Stevens High School, WA on how to be successful.
2. Presentation or Talk
3. Virtual Field Trip – With a handheld device, the guest speaker can show students places beyond their imaginations and that they might never see otherwise. Fabien Cousteau, world-famous oceanographic explorer, is making history with his Mission 31 exploration, and giving thousands of students around the world the ultimate field trip through Skype in the classroom.
4. Group Video Calls – Allow classes to speak to other classes. A class in the U.S. made a call to a class in India to discuss child labor.
5. A Day in the Life – If the speaker is from a different country or has a fascinating job, a day in the life speech can be extremely interesting and open up future career possibilities that your kids might never have known about.
Students in schools that have Skype in the Classroom are taken out of their neighborhood and learn so much more about the rest of the world and the people in it. In these times, this is more important than ever. One of the teachers that uses the program said:
“Open the doors to our classroom and connect to the world”
Skype in the Classroom is a free program. Almost 90,000 teachers use it. Is it being used in your school district? If not, here is some information you can give them.
- Skype in the Classroom is free and Ad Free!
- Only the teachers need Skype IDs, not the students
- No data is shared
- Everything is moderated by teachers
- Not very much bandwidth is needed
- Lack of time is no excuse. Skype can be used as part of the curriculum so it adds no additional time to the day.
- This fall, Skype translate will be available
There is no reason for any school, classroom or teacher not to use this wonderful, educational free Skype in the Classroom program other than fear of trying or learning something new. Skype offers lessons and any other help that teachers need. All students should have the chance to see the world!