Skype launches online learning platform
Luxembourg, April 2, 2011
Skype has launched an online platform which enables school teachers and students to have an easy way to find each other for collaborative projects and shared learning.
“Skype in the classroom” is a free global community created in response to, and in consultation with, the growing number of teachers using Skype to help their students learn.
Teachers can use the tool to collaborate with other teachers, and find partner classes and guest speakers.
Skype in the classroom is designed to help like-minded teachers find each other and relevant projects according to search criteria such as the age groups they teach, location and subjects of interest; and teaching resources can be easily shared and found.
From language studies and geography lessons to virtual field trips and expert speakers joining classes from afar, Skype video offers an immediate way to help students discover new cultures, languages and ideas, all without leaving the classroom, a statement said.
Teachers are also being encouraged to do more to share their expertise and experiences systematically in ways that go beyond the mere exchange of information, it added.
The platform, which has been in beta since the end of December, already has a community of more than 3000 teachers, across 99 countries.
Kara Cornejo, who teaches a fifth grade class in Missouri, and an avid Skype user, found five schools around the world to collaborate with on an international weather project within just one day of joining, the statement said.
“Skype in the classroom is an amazing resource to find teachers to collaborate with and to bring people into your classroom that you would never have been able to,” Cornejo said.
“Skype makes learning fun and engaging as children look forward to meeting their global friends and asking questions,” said Manuel Rose Delema, co-founder of the Global Learning Exchange, a programme designed to create borderless classrooms.
In a similar way, Skype is also used to connect nine to 10 year old students at Lakanal school in Lille, France with their peers in Prince Edouard Island, Canada.
“Before arranging the first video call, our students exchanged letters and emails but we decided to bring the two classes together face-to-face over Skype video to enrich their relationship,” said Christophe Fetat, the teacher at Lakanal school.
“The result was amazing. Students were really engaged to discuss different topics. It is really a simple and effective way to exchange ideas, learn and bring other cultures into the class.”
“Skype is committed to removing the barriers to communications and enabling conversations around the world with technology that is easy to use and affordable,” said Tony Bates, Skype chief executive officer.
“Skype in the classroom has been developed for a specific community of people who have a shared interest and are passionate about using technology in inventive ways in their classroom. We’ve received positive feedback from teachers and are keen to continue developing the site to meet their needs and help school children around the world work together in wonderful ways never thought possible,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service