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Why Skype Is The Most Valuable Tool I Use

It has recently occured to me that a tool I really take for granted is certainly the most important in my current teaching practice. Ive been utilising Skype now for well over a year since making the switch from MSN. The reason I decided to change was to create an instant message account that could be used completely for teaching and connecting with my students. After signing up I logged on in class and showed the students how I could make calls for free to other skype accounts, I then wowed them when I rang the school office asking to speak to the principal.

Now it was no suprise that as soon as I got home a heap of the students had downloaded skype and added me to their contact lists. Word soon spread throughout the student cohort that ‘Skype Was Cool’ and before long the majority of my students were online.

Instantly the conversations in the after hours happened and as my skype account is always open students have the ability to instantly contact me in regards to their school work. There are also the times when they just want to have a chat and to me this is the most important feature. The repoire I have been able to establish through conversations I have with students outside of school hours has been excellent.  The ability for students to seek answers to their questions at all hours has also been very powerful. Whether its asking if they have to bring a change of clothes for a prac session tommorow or a complex eplanation of a homework question it can be done with the help of skype. Some of them have even started asking me questions about subjects I dont even teach, which again proves the power of being connected.

Anyway below is a chat transcript from a senior student in my Outdoor & Environmental Studies subject which occurred at 9.30pm. Without skype and instant messaging how else would she have been able to seek an answer so quickly?

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4 Responses

  1. Yes, Skype is a great tool. Amanda Marrinan and I have used Skype to discuss our PLN….and a really precocious techie toddler.

    It is strange that sometimes people resist the most obvious and easiest interactive, free online tools. In my own case, I came to Skype only recently, but it has revolutionized the way I communicate with my Professional Learning Network (PLN). What really helped me turn to real Skype use was the encouragement of my peers.

    Since my teen, as well as the entire student body, officially uses Skype in their Project Based Learning Activities, I wrote an article, Anticipate and Skype Your Reaction about a few of the many possible educational uses by teachers in the classroom.

    It seems to me that the ability to use audio and video, as well as share links and screenshots make Skype one of the best free web applications to improve student access to teachers and their learning.

  2. [...] texts that are commonly used in high schools) should definitely consider joining. In the article Why Skype Is The Most Valuable Tool I Use the author uses Skype to answer student questions after school is out. Overall I think this is an [...]

  3. [...] skype with several users at once, creating a conference call without the video feature. The article Why Skype Is The Most Valuable Tool I Use, speaks to the benefits of Skype. Through Skype, students now have the ability “to seek answers [...]

  4. [...] Why Skype Is The Most Valuable Tool I Use This P.E. teacher’s blog post is about how he makes himself open to his students outside of class by using Skype. Once he showed his classes how Skype can be used for instant messaging, video conferencing, and phone calls, his students became hooked. Skype became cool among the students and they took advantage of it to keep in touch with their teacher when questions arose after school. This has had a positive impact on the rapport he has with his students. [...]

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