I have used skype for communicating with my family while they were out of town, and it works great. As district technology resource teacher, I can see many benefits for the classroom. Does anyone use skype regularly in the classroom or have good lesson plans for implementing it? Any ideas might be helpful.

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I use it regularly to have content discussion between my Current Issues students and high school students in other countries (Although we are currently experimenting with Oovoo and SightSpeed.) Skype is one part of several forms of communication we use. My students love it and it really gives them different perspectives on international affairs. Now my students are Facebook "friends" with students from other countries. I highly recommend it.

I am putting together a presentation for a technology conference if you are interesting. It is pretty basic, dealing mainly with methods,tools, and some general lessons we've learned. Let me know if you want to exchange ideas.

And tell us how it goes if you use it.

Jonathan Henderson
Would love too but current IT people see it as a waste of bandwidth? Too bad though because there is a lot of applications it could be used for. Not to mention the cost savings for schools or school divisions who have access to high speed internet.

It would be nice to access a classroom using skype and a simple webcam for videoconferencing. It would be great to use for PLCs and web meetings. I could go but why aggravate myself further.

I'm happy to hear that someone is using Skype. Look me up as I have a Skype account and would love to hear how you are using it in your classroom.

Cheers!

Lee Winik

Happy New Year!
Thanks Indigo!

Actually just spoke to our IT Supervisor and they are working on putting in some real voip equipment for our division as well as a number of other applications. Again, I appreciate your advice.

Lee
Jonathan,

I'd like to see this tool used by a few foreign language teachers in my district. What countries have you been able to contact?

I'd be very interested in the information you are putting together for the technology conference. Our IT department is looking to expand the capabilities of our network and are excited about what this type of tool can offer students.

Thanks!

Drew McAllister
Hello Drew, I now have contacts in Russia, China, Thailand, France, and Brazil. Each of them has different goals and ideas, but most want to improve their English. I teach Social Studies but if I were a language teacher I would certainly be exploring these possibilities as well. My class and the Russian class have just launched our own web site, www.russia-us.info and are very excited about this year's possibilities. My advice is to get the students to know each other through forums, blogs, picture exchanges or wikis before doing the live video conference. It will make that first one much more natural.

For finding partners I use studentsoftheworld and epals.
Good luck and let me know how if you do this.
Jonathan
Allen - For the last 3 years, I've used skype, sightspeed, or polycom. We have a video conferences at least once per week in the classroom for class to class meetings, sharing, etc. The best lessons are those that fit what the teacher has in mind already, what he/she may be planning to teach - modify and adapt it for sharing, kid presentations and so forth. That's how I do it. I keep a project based classroom feel in most everything we do, so video fits right in. We used skype this year to help us all adjust to a new student who spoke only Spanish - connected with a teacher in Los Angeles for basic translations, helped the kids get to know the new student much more quickly. There's a short video on my classroom 2.0 page showing the LA conference.
Thanks. I like what you said about letting the teacher implement what they have in mind. As the "distict" guy, I sometimes feel as if I am pushing these types of technology. I like how this appears to be a "seamless" tool you use regularly. I am sure the student appreciated the attention; I just returned from a first time trip to California, and your students probably gained some good cultural lessons.
We are starting to use it more and more in my 4th grade class. My dad is even going to teach a math center for me one day :) Dan Froelich has created a Skype in Schools directory. Please check it out and sign up. There are many teachers out there who love it!

http://skypeinschools.pbwiki.com

- Kelly Hines
Kelly that is an awesome website. I will use it as an example of what other schools are using skype for in the classroom and pitch it to our tech committee this month.

Cheers!

Lee WInik
Allen,

I'm looking at that question myself, as I'll be introducing Skype to foreign language teachers at a professional development meeting soon. I found this additional forum post that might be of help to you.

I'll be posting a separate forum topic on Skype in the foreign language classroom, but I'll also add my question here: Does anyone have examples to share? Or would there be someone who would like to try a cross-cultural Skype conversation with Spanish/French/German/Latin students in Missouri?
I use Skype in my online class for online office hours. Students seem to like it better than plain chat. One of my colleagues who teaches bsiness leadership has his students use Skype to simulate online conference call meetings so students have opportunities to interact with "role-play" clients at a distance. The goal is to show students how to use the tool for collaboration in the workplace.
Mary,
I like that creative way of using skype. It appears we will have a teacher connect with one of our state house of representatives while he is in session. Thanks

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