Skype is a software-based phone network. You can call anyone (through your computer) who has Skype for free over the Internet. You also have the option of paying to be able to dial a standard phone from the computer.
I downloaded Skype years ago but never got into it, because I didn’t know anyone on it. That was when Skype was very rough as well. At the NYSAIS Conference for IT Managers, I watched Alan November (podcast of session here) demo Skype and propose that every class be podcasted, and students give presentations in front of audiences of parents patched in through Skype. Very cool ideas.
But today, let’s get into the reality. My mom is in India (where I am headed on Friday), and she is at her sister’s house. Her sister has Skype on her computer, and my mom was chatting with my brother (in Virginia) using Skype. They called me (in New York City), and we had a conference call, all using Skype. In the mean time, my aunt came online (in Bombay, India), and we patched her in. It was incredible. Family whom I don’t get to speak with very often, all communicating via the Internet, with nearly-perfect audio, and of course, for free.
So the project we have been discussing at school is an easy one. Forget the e-pals, let’s get some Skype pals in other places. French classes should be calling the Cote d’Ivoire and Skype chatting with kids there. Debates don’t need to happen between half the kids in the class and the other half. They should happen with classrooms half way across the globe. Let kids prepare for to defend their position to students in Norway instead of students they see each day. The possibilities are of course, endless. Dream away teachers…and please do share the results with the rest of us.
So, while I