Today's challenge is to explore the Internet telephone and video calling service, Skype. Strictly speaking, Skype isn't a Web 2.0 tool since it involves a download, but many of its applications blur the line between program and web tool. Regardless, we may not have jet-packs or human cloning like the science fiction writers promised, but we can enjoy the benefits of collaborating face-to-face even when separated across distance today.
GETTING SET UP
Skype is easy to download and install. The following links will get you started:
Create an Account
Download the Software
How-To Videos on YouTube
WHY WE LIKE SKYPE
The great thing about Skype is that it allows you to send your expertise and experience to other Skype users anywhere in the world, or to invite others from across the globe to share their expertise with your classroom without the inconveniences of travel, hotel stays, or long-distance phone bills. You can collaborate with a classroom in Turkey, or invite a professor from Harvard to speak with your class. The best part is that many people are happy to share what they know via Skype because it is easy and convenient. All you have to do is ask.
Here are a few Skype directories that can help get you started:
Skype an Author Network
Skype in Schools Directory
EduBlogger: Skype Other Classrooms
Skype for Educators Directory
You can join the Skype for Educators Directory here.
Finally, here are a few resources for getting started with Skype in your classroom:
50 Awesome Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom
Cool Cat Teacher: Using Skype in the Classroom
The Complete Educator's Guide To Using Skype
Your Assignment: Explore the possibilities of Skype in the classroom. How do you imagine using Skype to enhance your professional practice? If you use Skype, share your thoughts about Skype as a classroom or professional tool. Have you used Skype with students? If so, what did you learn from the experience?