Teacher's Guide: Skype Usage in Education


Teacher's Guide: Skype Usage in Education
Collaboration plays an important role in the 21st century education system. Collaboration between educators brings new ideas to solve educational challenges. There are many technological tools that help people collaborate with each other. Of all the tech 
approaches, Video Conferencing stands at the top position with its highly interactive features.

With video conferencing, educators can invite expert professors, scientists and other educators into their classroom as virtual guests to give lectures, tips and demonstrations. Many educators suggest Skype as a great tool for collaboration. Let’s learn about it.

Skype:

Getting started with Skype:

The following is the step-by-step procedure for getting started with Skype.

Go to Skype.com’s download section, choose your device type and get the Skype software.

Install Skype, set up an account, interface basics and profiles.

Set privacy options according to your needs.

Import your PLN contacts into Skype.

Once you’ve gone through the above procedure, everything is set for Skype access.

Features of Skype:

Calling Features:

Skype to Skype calls : Call anyone else on Skype for free, anywhere in the world.

Calls to mobiles and landlines : Call mobiles and landlines worldwide at low rates.

Group calls : Get a group of people together on one call – you can add up to 25 people.

Skype Number : Your friends call at your number and you pick up on Skype wherever you are in the world.

Forward calls : Not on Skype or can’t pick up? Simply get your Skype calls forwarded to any phone.

Caller ID : Don’t be an unknown number… Let people know it’s you calling them.

Skype To Go : Call international numbers from any phone at Skype’s low rates.

Skype Click to Call : Switch between browsing the Internet and making calls with just one click.

Video: One-to-one calls and Group video calls.

Messaging:

Video messaging: Send a message you can see and hear.

Instant messaging: Talk with your fingers - gossip away, plan a trip, work on a project – all in an instant.

Send texts (SMS): Text message friends with the comfort of your keyboard.

Voice messages: Skype takes a message for you when you’re busy to talk. You can listen to it later.

GroupMe: Share messages, photos and your location on your mobile.

 

Sharing

Send files: Send files, photos and videos of any size over Skype. Simply drop or add the file into your Skype chat.

Screen sharing: Share your computer screen with the person you’re talking to.

Send contacts: Share a contact, number and Skype Name easily.

Tips for Educators to effectively utilize the above Features:

Educators can utilize Skype in the following ways:

Connect with an Expert:

When your class works on a lesson or a topic, you can invite scientists, authors, illustrators or other educators who have a great expertise in that particular subject. Figure out those people through your PLN and make an interaction. This helps your students to learn real-time information.

Skype’s Educational Channel:

Go to Skype’s educational section, choose a subject from the list of categories and get access to relevant results. You can find Skype lessons, teachers, guest speakers and collections. Choose other educators’ classrooms according to your search results and connect with them to have an interaction. 

Parent-Teacher Meetups:

As we know, most of the parents don’t find time to attend school activities, it’s better to conduct meetups or conferences online using Skype. It can save time, money and energy.

Connect students who are not present in class:

Skype helps educators to teach lessons to students even if they are unable to attend classes.

Group Video calls to conduct debates and discussions:

Get a group of bright students either from the same class or from different classes together at the same time on a video call, conduct discussions or debates, record them to review and improve your students’ skills.

Personalized instructions:

Educators can talk to the students whenever they need assistance.

Professional Development:

Educators can utilize the benefits of Skype to develop professionally. Interact with expert professionals through Skype education, learning skills and get expertise.

Best Practices:

Vicki Davis’s demonstration:

Vicki Davis shares how Skype is being introduced to her students:

You may read the blog post and watch the demonstration here. Precautions suggested by Vicki are as follows:

  • Do not put your real name under full name.
  • Never go in Skype Me mode.
  • Do not complete your profile.
  • No usernames with meanings that can be misconstrued.
  • Do not Skype Out (or call a landline phone) they get 5 free minutes and you don't want them calling home from the computer!

Karen Lirenman’s short description about her Skype usage in classroom:

“Skype brings the world into the classroom. It's been useful in so many ways. Works well with an oral language program - authentic questions being asked to an authentic audience. It sparks curiosity and makes connections more real. With Skype, we can add a body into the classroom when one isn't available. It also allows kids to learn with other children in a 1:1 setting”, said Karen Lirenman, a grade one teacher.

We hope this information is useful for you to know about the benefits, practices and usage of Skype for interactions and collaboration to improve learning. We’d like to have your views as well. Please feel free to share with us your practices and suggestions to use Skype in education.

About the Author
Author: Santosh Bhaskar KWebsite: http://www.twitter.com/SantoshBhaskarK
Devotee of Dr. Abdul Kalam. Following his path of Creating Creative Education in India. Contributing my works in "India Vision 2020". Former EdTech Blogger/Researcher at ETR India

 

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