Teachers have long been using Skype in the classroom to invigorate lessons, but now Skype has responded by launching a new online platform that specifically caters to the education sector.
Skype in the classroom is a free global community created to allow teachers to find like-minded counterparts to help with relevant projects. The platform can be used to find teachers from around the world who are interested in some sort of shared learning experience. The technology lends itself particularly well to virtual language exchanges and field trips as well as a means for getting expert speakers to join classes from afar.
The platform, which has been in beta since December 2010 and has just launched, already has a community of more than 3000 teachers in 99 countries.Teachers can sign up to the platform by creating a profile detaling their interests, location and the age groups that they teach. They can then post up their requests onto a central website (such as “seeking Italian-English language exchange project” or “cross-cultural awareness in rural farming communities”) to find like-minded teachers and classes that they can exchange ideas with. They can also search for prospective exchanges by student age range, language and subject.
One example is the exchange between the Villa Maria Academy in Pennsylvania in the U.S. and a school in Chile. A teacher in Chile delivered a talk on earthquake engineering from a classroom in Chile, which was relayed to the U.S. classroom and displayed in front of the students on a large screen.
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Image Source : DFID - UK Department for International Development