Videoconferencing is easier than ever. Through your computer, you can reach out to teachers and students from around the world.
With Skype you can make free phone calls to other Skype users over the Internet. Skype also features videoconferencing so that all you need is a webcam to make live video calls! You can download Skype for free from the Skype website.
Skype has tremendous potential for classroom use. Teachers can quickly and easily invite guests from all over the world to speak to their students. A sick student could participate from home or a sick teacher could run class from home! Social studies and foreign language teachers can use Skype to connect with students in foreign countries. Language arts teachers can connect with the authors of works they are reading. Science teachers could demonstrate a lab activity using Skype's video capability. Students in all subjects can make presentations and classrooms in different districts (or different countries) could collaborate on a project using Skype.
Three-part Skype video tutorial
Before you watch the tutorials, download the Skype program at www.skype.com and install the product. Then double-click the Skype icon to start up the product and add a username and password into the "Create a Skype Account" window. On the Personal Profile page, add some personal information about yourself. Check that your microphone and speakers are on. Now you're ready to watch the tutorials below and begin "Skyping!"
Searching for Skype users and adding contacts
Making a video call with Skype
Chatting in Skype
Tips for classroom use of Skype
If you plan to use Skype in the classroom explain to your students what Skype is and how it works. If you plan to have students set up their own accounts, then talk to them about privacy and security. If students are under the age of 18 it's probably a wise idea that they not reveal their full name, nor complete a Skype personal profile.
Skype uses a lot of bandwidth and some school IT departments ban it. Point out the educational uses of Skype to your IT director and see if your can reach an accommodation. Tell your IT director that they can unblock a port. Learn more at Skype in the Classroom.