Skype is an ideal free application that could be used for a very simple video conferencing in your primary school. Facebook and Google offer this facility and it can be done using smart phones, iPad2, The iPod Touch version 4 as well as most teachers laptops.
Not sure how to use Skype?
There is lots of information about using Skype as a VC tool on https://education.skype.com/. There is also a list of projects that your school could join with, and once you see how easy it is you could post your project there for others to join! Other “how to use Skype” links include:
- Edtechteacher has a set of three videos on how to use Skype
- The Educators PLN has information on recording Skype calls
- WMnet have a useful guide on running a video conferencing session
- Slideshare presentation: Primary Video Conferencing With Skype
So why would it be good to use Skype in schools?
- To increase engagement and motivation
- It can provide a range of opportunities for speaking and listening
- It can help develop social and communication skills
- It has the power to increase in confidence and self esteem
- It offers real communication – a real audience
- Research has show it can raise academic achievement
- It enables the acquisition of new knowledge and understanding through access to experts and expertise around the world
- It can have an impact on cultural awareness
Organisations that offer Skype opportunities *
- National Portrait Gallery, London
- National Archive London
- Maritime Museum, London
- Ocean Institute, San Francisco
- Great Barrier Reef, Australia
- NASA, Houston, Texas
- Cabinet War Rooms, London
- The Natural History Museum (NHM)
- The National Space Centre
(* there may be a cost involved and booking well in advanced is recommended)
Bring authors, artists, musicians, people of different cultures or religions, scientists, historians or even some of the pupils’ grandparents into school for a few minutes with no hassle! Keep in touch with pupils who move, keep in touch with parents in the forces or travelling, it may only be for a 15 minute talk but pupils will soon start to learn about the world and different cultures. Links to ideas and opportunities are available from:
- British Council Schools On-line who seem to be in the process of developing VC opportunities with Global Leap! (for more information contact email@example.com)
- VANguard have a list of VC possibilities although beware of providers in a different time zone.
- Northwood Primary School in London who want new Skype partner schools
- ATHENA Excellence in Cities Education Action Zone offer lovely VC project ideas via their old website
At 123ICT we have the expertise to help your school with Skype – just ask your consultant or contact us if you would like staff training.