Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bringing the World into Your Classroom with Skype

It can sometimes be quite costly to bring a speaker into the classroom. Depending upon the presenter, teachers sometimes need to cover the cost of transportation, lodging, as well as an honorarium for the speaker. Field trips can be a logistical nightmare. From organizing the venue, collecting permissions slips and ticket money, to arranging for transportation, getting a classroom full of students organized for an outing can leave a teacher at wits end. Which is too bad since these authentic learning experiences are often times the ones that stick with students. An alternative? Bring the speaker or field trip to you using Skype.

Skype is a free application that allows users to make free audio and video calls through their internet connection. Skype is a type of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) application, which uses your dial-up or broadband connection to make free calls over the internet. You can use Skype to connect with one person or a group. It features a chat function, file sharing, audio and video connections, and so much more. Teachers are using Skype to connect their students with classrooms on the other side of the world, to collaborate on projects, and to share materials.

  • Check out this wonderful post by Silvia Tolisano, an edublogger who writes at Langwitches. In it, she outlines not only how she has used Skype but why Skype is such a great resource for teachers.
  • Not convinced? Watch this. Brian Crosby's fourth grade class connects to a classmate via Skype.
Below you will find examples of how teachers have used Skype with their students. Their reflections offer insights on the benefits as well as the complications encountered when they opened up their classroom doors.

Connect your class to virtual pen pals

Help students hear native speakers when learning a foreign language

Collaborate with another class on a joint research project

Bring authors into your classroom via a Skype

Learn about another culture by connecting students to a classroom from that culture

Learn about geography from students living in an area you are studying

Bring professionals from your content area to "speak" in your classroom

Conduct interviews

Create pod- and screencasts with students from other parts of the world

Study the same book with another class and hold web book talks

Have students in your class create virtual presentations for students in other schools

Attend a webinar with your students

  • The Skype in Schools page offers a good list of Skype add-ons.
  • Skype has a cool list of applications made with teachers in mind. Download them today!
  • Recorder for Skype - Collaborating with another school on a project and want to record your Skype call so you can replay the audio later? Use the Skype Call Recorder to create podcasts of your calls.
Use these links to find other teachers and classroom projects to connect to
  • Sue Waters at The Edublogger has put together this list of teachers interested in using Skype in their classroom. It is organized by country and subject area.
  • This is an excellent directory of teachers organized by state. Add you information if you are interested in connecting with other classrooms.
  • Also, check out the resources that I've collected through my Delicious account.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for referring to my article on skype. The other link that you might be interested in is this wiki where authors who are prepared to talk to classrooms through skpye are listed. I hope to make use of one or two of these this year. See
The other great new feature of skype is the screen share application. So, I can now share photos or ppt presentations on my desktop using skype.

Jennifer Ward said...


Loved your post on Skype! I actually just saw the Skype an Author page the other day thanks to Twitter. One of the people I follow retweeted the link. Gotta love Twitter! It is awesome for finding new resources!

Jennifer Ward said...

How cool is this! I just noticed that Skype mentions my blog post on their blog!

You'll also find a few more links and details on my cross-posted article at

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