Skype can connect your classroom to the rest of world with ease. There’s an entire site called Skype in the Classroom that’s packed full of useful ideas. As you can see in the above video, technology enables classrooms to connect like never before. Tools like Skype are some of the most important pieces of education technology out there, in my opinion.
Skype, despite a few flaws like dropped calls and all that, is like having something out of The Jetsons in your classroom right now. In other words, video calls are now possible and even free for most types of calls. Between Skype and Google+ Hangouts, there’s a lot of exciting connections being made every day over video.
Below are just a few of my favorite ways to use Skype in the classroom. It’s by no means exhaustive but should serve as an inspiration to try out the tool today!
1) Connect with international classrooms
It’s as simple as setting up a free account. Just create a Skype account and start figuring out which fellow teachers are already using Skype. Then, you can go to the official Skype in the Classroom site to find international classrooms to connect with. It’s a great chance to introduce your students to another culture without having to, you know, fly them all around the world.
2) Learn a musical instrument
Ever wanted to learn violin or another instrument but couldn’t find an instructor nearby? While in-person is still probably the best, many students and teachers don’t have access or time to find a proper tutor. So you should consider using Skype to find someone to teach you an instrument that you’re itching to get your hands on.
3) Professional development
Skype benefits more than just students, as educators themselves can use it to plug in and keep their career skills sharpened and broadened.
4) Meet with librarians
Teachers and students alike who need some assistance with research or ask some questions about a specific book might want to consider hooking up a Skype link with the school library.
5) Guest lecturers
Many plugged-in professionals these days will gladly offer up special lectures and lessons to classrooms via Skype, and sometimes charge a much lower fee than if they were to travel!
6) Practice interviews
The education system frequently receives criticism for its failure to prepare students for the real world, but using Skype to help them run through mock-up interviews with each other, teachers, counselors, or professionals will help grant them an advantage.
7) Have a mystery call!
What is a mystery call, you ask? It’s simply a way for you to connect with another classroom in a different spot in the world … without having them tell you where they are. Students are then tasked with asking questions to figure out the location of that classroom. It’s like playing a geographic-based 20 questions!
8) Meet exchange students
The future is now. You can now find, meet, and get to know exchange students before they even make it to you in person. Skype is a fun way to figure out any potential problems or other questions, easing the arrival of the exchange student when they finally make it to your classroom or school.
9) Give students background tasks while Skyping
Share the responsibility of Skyping by giving students various tasks to perform while on the call. They can record the talk, blog about it, make a podcast, take notes, map out the discussion, or simply be charged with delivering a summary report on the call.
10) Parent-teacher conferences
Save gas, time, and energy by holding meetings with moms and dads via video chat instead of the usual arrangement.
Share Your Skype Best Practices
How do you use Skype in your classroom? Share your ideas and methods down in the comments or over on the good ol’ Edudemic Facebook page. Looking forward to learning from you!