What did you learn on Skype today?
Tim Wu teaches his class at Columbia Law via Skype from Berlin.
It’s become clear to us over the last week or so that Skype is an essential tool for educators in a crisis. Reports have been streaming in from around the world of teachers connecting with their students despite being stuck continents away.
[Columbia] decided to use Skype since it didn’t require Wu or the university to buy any new equipment or download any new software. Rather, Wu could simply fire up the Web camera on his laptop and use Skype to hold a videoconference call with Columbia.
And it was a similar situation for this secondary school teacher from Banbury in Oxfordshire, who’ll be teaching via Skype until he returns to the UK from Spain.
But Skype isn’t just for troublesome times like these. Skype is used in education across the globe every day, from virtual foreign exchanges to the boy who goes to school every day via Skype; from teachers bringing expert speakers into their classes from across the world, to learning languages a different way. And if you’re concerned about Skype being something just for the tech-savvy students, check out our this list of ‘Skype jobs’. There’s something for everyone.
And think of the possibilities for doing more, as well as doing things better – taking your class on a virtual field trip every week, or giving deaf students more opportunities to interact, or one of my favourites, the phenomenal Around the World with 80 Schools project.
We’ll be collecting stories about using Skype in education from around the world over the coming months, and blogging about them here. Use the links on the right hand side to subscribe to the Play blog – make sure you don’t miss out