To Skype or Not to Skype… That is the question!

I once again am admitting ignorance when it comes to the use of technology in my school.  My own children used to Skype on a frequent basis with friends, but that was quickly replaced with Facetime on their smartphone, and Oovoo where multiple people can be on at once (or at least that’s what i’m being told!  I’ll have to check that out!)  For them, Skype is only being used when their friends are long distance.  My kids are 21, 19, and 17.  I asked them how they used Skype in the classroom.  Their response was, “Huh?  In school?  Not at all.”  I’m hoping there’s a real change coming soon where this much needed technology is incorporated into their learning beginning at an early age.  It’s sad to think that my own kids missed out on this learning…. But became self-directed learners for their own purposes. 

When I tried to Skype with a fellow educator, I have to admit that it was awkward at first since it was just a trial and we didn’t have an official “agenda” or topic we were going to converse on.  I honestly don’t know if I’d use it to connect with people I already know; but the ability to Skype with educators and experts around the world definitely sounds appealing!  I personally would always be worried about what I look like on the other monitor (true confession there) so I need to get past that hang up!

With that being said, I think that Skype looks captivating to use in the classroom.  I did a quick search of Skype in Education and came up with some great sites that gave me an idea of what Skype is all about.  This link gave me a good foundation to start with.  WOW!!! This Skype in the Classroom site said there are 64,150 members on their site around the world!  What’s cool is that you can click on a member’s face and it will open a new link describing ways they use Skype in their classroom.   The site also includes Featured Skype Lessons that are ready to use.  There are some really cool ideas on there!  Imagine having your class Skype another group of students around the globe to talk about just about anything… making connections… learning together…  We have the ability to Skype experts on topics we’re studying which is so much more engaging than reading a textbook. 

All of this new information on using Skype is making me very excited to try it out some more.  I need to take a look at some of the possibilities to see what would tie in with my struggling readers…. What a great way to make connections and learn.  The Net-Generation has such a plethora of technology to work with… it’s up to us to put it within their reach.

2 thoughts on “To Skype or Not to Skype… That is the question!

  1. Karen, your post is similar to mine, especially because I am also hung up on the same issues you are in regard to the video features! It doesn’t feel very natural to me at all, but I know it appeals to my students. However, I would bet most of them feel the same way about connecting to people they hardly know or have never met. They love Face-timing with friends and family but when it comes to other peers they do not associate with, I’m sure they would feel that awkward tension as well.

  2. Karen, this is the first time I am hearing about Facetime on smart-phones and Oovoo! Just when I think I have the hang of one technology, along comes another one that either improves upon or entirely replaces the previous one! Thank you for sharing the great Skype link. This is giving me more ideas about ways to use it in this type of technology in the classroom. However, I have to agree with you that I probably wouldn’t use this in my personal life. For me, one of the benefits of talking on the phone was that I could be in my PJs and it wouldn’t make a difference! 🙂

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