Skype has been around for a hand full of years now. I have been using it for personal contacts for three years. During the winter months, my parents move down to sunny, warm, North Carolina. They miss their granddaughter tremendously. Every Sunday, we gather around the computer monitor and have an hour long conversation. It amazes me that we can see my parents and they can see us in real-time from hundreds of miles away. The best part is that this service is free.
Until the other night, I never really thought about Skype as a tool for my teaching career. On Thursday, I had a 40 minute conversation with Robert from my online grad class. We had never met. We had only posted information and comments on each others blogs. We also worked on a wiki together. It was great collaborating with him online to complete those activities, but it was even better seeing him in person…almost. Through Skype we were able to have a discussion and share stories about our careers and how we use technology. Using technology to talk about technology. That was pretty cool.
Robert had a question about how to do something in our wiki. Instead of me trying to explain to him the process, the new version of Skype has a screen sharing feature. I shared my desktop with him and he was able to watch me do what he wanted to know. How cool is that? I figured Skype would be a great way to do off-site training for fellow teachers in my building. I could show them how to use software or complete a task on the computer. Also, I would like to use Skype to contact and talk to professionals in the science field. My kids can Skype with them and get a first hand look at a real scientist that works in the fields that we are studying. What a great authentic presentation for students.
How do you use Skype in your classroom? What are some ideas of things you could use it for?