Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 5- Skype

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.

RESOURCES

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
Collaborators Wanted

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



CHALLENGE

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?

50 comments:

  1. Skype is useful when you have to leave or take an absence from class and you still want students to understand what is going on. You could skype in from your phone or computer and explain the lesson or activity or just watch the class to make sure they are understanding.

    Skype is also useful when you would like to have a guest speaker in class, but the times do not work out for them to come into the building. Skype would allow them to still speak to the class with less interference to their personal/business schedule!

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  2. Skype is awesome! If people aren’t using it already, they should start today. It is one of the most useful things that I’ve learned in the past couple years. It can bring the world into your classroom. The hardest thing is finding people to skype with. There is an educator skype network but I haven’t really used it to connect with any classes yet. I have had students use it to connect with. It is also very useful when sharing your desktop with someone. I have used it in this way to demonstrate software for new users.

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  3. Skype is such a neat tool for collaboration. I currently use Skype with my 5th grade class. These students have "E-Pen Pals" at Lincoln. We have already had several video calls and we are now in the process of getting ready to trade letters between students via email. Via Skype video call, the two classes have already shared some math problems and experiences they've had at school so far this year. I have a few students who either have a relative or a close friend in the class at Lincoln. They are so excited every time I say we are going to Skype Lincoln today!

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  4. I've used Skype at home for a while, but I definitely need more ideas on how to use it in the classroom. It is great for out of town relatives and I would love to have another class to skype with in another city or school!

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  5. Skype is actually something I'm familar with. We use it almost nightly to let my kiddos talk with my mom and dad. Last year we used it in the classroom to let students talk with a family member of a teacher who was living in Africa. It's an excellent tool to let kids communicate with others from long distances!

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  6. I have used Skype for several years as a voice and texting resource with other professionals. It is a great way to share information and thoughts without having to be face to face.

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  7. I'm with Susan here... In the classroom, I found skype extremely useful on days when I was out but had full internet access. I could skype to my classroom and give the lesson from a remote location. I would then turn off the video and audio on my end but keep the line open. That way if a student had a question, they could come up to the computer in the room I was using and ask their question. I could then answer their question just like I could if I was in the room.

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  8. BTW.... it was also an extremely effective behavior monitor... When the random "Voice of God" catches you off task, you get back on task quickly and others think twice before straying from the work at hand!

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  9. I love using Skype personally and as a classroom tool. There are so many project ideas at http://education.skype.com/ that the possibilities seem endless. Just recently I was able to Skype with a colleague and share our computer screens as he explained how to use a web tool. Screen sharing is really great! My favorite Skype project is the day we had a guest music clinician from another state help our choir prepare for contest. You can see a video about it here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhNa8xFUY4E

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  10. If you're using Skype for remote teaching, you can download another program called CamTwist which allows you to share your screen as well as keeping both video feeds open. Normally, you lose the presenter with the Skype screen share option. CamTwist allows both to be shown at the same time.
    I would also put in a plug for Google+ Hangouts here. I've had MUCH better success with bandwidth and connection using Google rather than Skype. Google+ doesn't require a download, either, so it is better if you're in a jam for a quick fix.

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  11. I love the idea of using Skype to communicate with students when I am out. I think it would be useful for having another choir teacher do a masterclass with my chorus using Skype to help them prepare for contest.

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  12. I could use Skype in my classroom to connect my middle school math class to another math class. We could compare what were learning and how we learned it. I think that it would be cool to do this with a school in another part of the world, but it could be neat to do it within the corporation as well. It would be a modern version of pen pals. I could use Skype myself to connect with other educators across the country. We could compare our practices and learn from one another. I've used a similar program (I think it was called Breeze) to have discussions for an online class. The main issues I had were a result of my slow internet connection (audio and video delay was a big problem).

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  13. Skype is a great tool! I would love to be able to skype with someone in a field that uses math every day in ways that you may not always think about. My students could then see that math is everywhere and in every thing, with every job. Skype can also be used in talking with students of another culture.

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  14. I too have used Skype on a personal level, but I have yet to use it in the classroom. I love the idea about skyping in if I am absent.
    I would love to find some specialist in the field of Biology or Anatomy that would be willing to Skype in as a class guest speaker. Does anyone know of any resources to find guest speakers that would be willing to do this?

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  15. Skyping with a parent who is unable to attend a case conference in person is an intriguing idea. Another idea I liked was skyping with adults in various jobs where students could ask questions of each as a vocational exploration activity would be great. There are endless possibilities.

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  16. I have not used Skype personally or in the classroom yet. But this would be a great way to get students connected with a novel or story that we are reading. It is always important for the students to understand the author and with the help of Skype I could bring the author to the classroom after reading a novel. The students could ask the author questions about the work and deepen their understanding of the text. It would also bring a new life to the novel if the students can connect a face with the name on the cover.

    This would also be a great way to help students outside of class. It would be a more personal way to have office hours. If the student is struggling with their homework or a reading assignment they could connect on Skype and I could help them with the material "face to face."

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  17. This would work very well for many areas in education. There was a guy from Indianapolis that is doing what I would like to do with this tool: elapsed time. This would be good to do for communicating with someone across the globe.

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  18. I use Skype all the time personally. I have used it in my classroom when I was teaching English in Ecuador. My class of 6th graders in Ecuador skyped with my friend's class in Bloomington, IN. The kids loved it and I wish the technology was available in Ecuador to do it more often!

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  19. I love skype and the ways you can take a virtual field trip. I have not had the chance to use it in my current classroom as we do not have a web cam, microphone, up to date computer. I like Kris's comment about the voice of GOD had not thought of it that way! I also like the thought of being able to contact a parent to maybe further explain an assignment or if they had questions. I did not think to use in case I was out, great idea.

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  20. I have not used Skype in the classroom, yet. However, my sister is a manager at a bank and I would love to bring her expert financial knowledge into my math classroom, from her office. A video is nice, but having the live person there to answer questions the students may have is even better.

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  21. Skype would be a great way to teach a class or a private lesson. It would also be a great way to collaborate with colleagues.

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  22. I am hoping to use skype during the neighborhood unit this year. I would like to take some virtual study trips in the community. I am glad you made it part of this challenge .

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  23. It would be a good tool for teachers to visit other teacher's classrooms to get ideas. It would be a great interactive and motivating tool for students to visit other peers.

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  24. I have used skype before in the classroom to call people in different countries for my kids to talk to. Friends I have met from different countries who are willing to have my students ask them what living in that country is like. The hardest part is getting time where both parties are able to communicate but the students love it!

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  25. Skype is the first tool shared that I've used. LOVE it! I actually hired our fabulous art teacher via a Skype interview. She was living in New York, we skyped, and I found an excellent educator. Used it a bunch when my son spent a semester in Harlaxton.

    For elementary students who frequently have pen pals, Skype makes the interaction much more interesting and engaging. Students can Skype with anyone/anywhere. Our technology teacher is getting ready to move to Australia, and she's going to Skype with our kids so they can see her and the wonderful place she's visiting.

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  26. Skype is the best!!!

    Last year, my newspaper staff collaborated on a story with a school in California. We started by Skyping their staff and working out the details. We then used GoogleDocs to create the story. As they worked, they Skyped several times.

    Later in the year, we also did a Skype interview.

    Personally, I use this to talk with my siblings and let them watch the twins, which they don't get to see too often. Professionally, I have a few journalism teachers that I periodically touch base with, sharing ideas and commiserating with.

    And the bonus is that through the end of the month, you can Skype phone numbers for free!!!!

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  27. I have used Skype in the past to collaborate with my colleagues. As far as classroom applications, as many people have already posted, the first thing that comes to mind is to use Skype to bring other cultures and viewpoints into the classroom. My kids had classmates who spent a semester in England, and they used Skype to stay connected and learn about another culture.

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  28. Although I have never used Skype in the classroom, I use it to talk to my little grandson all the time.
    I think it would be useful to use Skype as a live interviewing tool across classrooms. Students could ask teachers questions, and vice versa.

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  29. I have previously used Skype with coworkers and family members. I have never tried using it in the classroom. Plaza has a new International focus this year, and Skyping with people from Lating America, Germany and Japan could be an invaluable experience for our students. I can't wait to share this idea with the Plaza staff.

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  30. I have used Skype to communicate with my daughters when they were away at college. Hopefully my class with be able to Skype with our sister school in China this year.

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  31. For those of you looking for contacts from various areas of expertise or from places across the globe, there are a few directories listed in the post to help you begin your search for people who would be willing to Skype with you. Also, in my experience it is easy to get people to Skype into a group. Identify the person that you would like to have Skype with your class, search for contact information, and then ask:) The worst thing they can do is say no.

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  32. I think that Skype would be an awesome tool for use in a world language classroom to bring in native speakers. The only barrier I face is time zone differences. Japan is a 14 hour time difference from Evansville. It would take a lot of correlation and commuication to get things off the ground. However, I could possibly pair up with a college or another high school class state side.As for other uses, I agree with many previous posts that Skype could be used when you have a planned absence to check in or to tutor students who are away for an extended absence.
    I have used Skype to communicate with friends, professional and personal when distance is an issue.

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  33. I can't see me using skype at this time

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  34. I have a skype account, but haven't used it in my classroom. I would love to get some guest speakers into the classroom with skype!

    Question: Does everyone use external web cams to get a wide angle shot of the classroom??

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  35. Love Skype...though I use it in my personal life, not yet at school. I can not seem to get it to load on my teacher computer, which has caused me to have to pass on a couple of opportunities lately. Once I get it figured out it will be full speed ahead.

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  36. @ Kelli, I have use the built in iSight Camera on an iMac that was facing the class and attached to the Promethean Board. However, there are several wide-angle external webcams designed for use in the classroom that are pretty reasonable in price.

    http://amzn.to/uR5MCg

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  37. The best use I have found for skype is saving money on long distance calls to my French exchange family. Not only do I get to "see" them, it doesn;t cost me $1.00 a minute for the call.

    Also, when I am out of town for work, I can skype my kids so we can still "be together."

    Last, I do enjoy having the opportunity to chat with people even if I am tied up in a meeting or a PD--beware, I sometimes forget to change my status to unavailable and have received skypes in some embarrassing contexts, like when your computer image is projected in front of a group!

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  38. So, between the conference that I am at and doing this 30 Day Challenge, I am missing my classroom! :)

    I skype with my sister. She lives in Tucson, Arizona. I love being able to see her as we talk and also watch my nephew grow!

    I can see using Skype in several ways. My class could talk with another class in the EVSC. I could have absent students join my class from home! I also heard today that in one district a parent volunteered over skype because he was deployed in Iraq! Now that's amazing! What a great way not only to be part of your child's life but to show your value in their education.
    So, I keep thinking...what if a parent wants to share what they do at work, but can't get away from work. SKYPE!

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  39. Skype is a great program that can be used in many ways. I love the article 50 Ways to Use Skype.
    I have used Skype to communicate with out of state relatives, and I am always finding new ways to use. Meetings that are out of the area can also be skyped saving money and time away from family.

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  40. I have used skype for personal use to communicate with friends in other countries. I think this concept could easily be transfered to the classroom. For years teachers have been using pen pals to connect with other classrooms around the world. Skype could be the new pen pal. This would be the perfect way for students to interact with other students around the world and to learn about other cultures.

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  41. I have used Skype in the school setting on two different occasions. The first was with the Reitz TeenPower group. We skyped with our former sponsor in South Carolina. The second time I used it was to Skype with Author Tim O'Brien after my AP classes had read his book.

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  42. Oh, the possibilities! For me, this started out as a tool to keep in touch with my brother while he was working at Disney World. This summer, after I attended the eLearning Conference, I was amazed
    at the possibilities Skype can bring. Skype was recently used at our school to speak to Rabbis. I would love to flip my classroom when I get one! :)

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  43. I love Skype. I use it mainly at home to talk with family and friends. It is a great tool. I can see it being a very cool tool in the classroom as well. Having a classroom penpal somewhere in the world and then being able to actually talk with them on Skype would be great. It might also be very interesting to do a team teaching lesson with another teacher. This person might be in EVSC or not. There are endless ideas with Skype!!

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  44. I have used skype to talk with my children while they were away at college or studying abroad. I have often thought it would be beneficial for my students to skype with my children or other college students to share the importance of applying themselves in high school and how they use technology and math in their field of study.

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  45. I also thought Andrea Campbell's idea of having parents share....it would be cool to have parents share how they use math in their profession.

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  46. I love Skype! Before coaching, I taught math. Students always asked the question, "When will I use this stuff?" Skype allows the opportunity to reach out to specialists in content areas and bring that right into our classrooms. I've used it when a question comes up that I don't know the answer to immediately. I could spend lots of time searching for the answer online, but why do that when an expert is right there?

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  47. Skype is a great way to bring experts into the classroom. I could use this to bring chemists into the classroom. We also have a sister school - Lishui High School in China. It will be great if we can Skype with those students. They could work collaborately on a science research project, or present projects to one another via Skype.

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  48. Skype is a wonderful tool. It can give students options if they are absent from school. If the class is doing group work and a group member is absent, that particular student could Skype in and collaborate with their group members. Also, if you are working on a multiple disclipinary project, it would make it easier to communicate with another class i.e. biology and a math class.

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  49. I actually have a date set up already to use Skype to have my class communicate with students from my mom's 1st grade class in San Antonio, Texas. Most of her students are from other countries such as Nepal, various parts of China and Japan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Mexico, India, and others. We are currently having them serve as pen pals to each other, but this would be a great "Show & tell" experience for both of our classes.

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