We’ve been waiting for this.
For many of us who are already used to using all those lovely new tools for communication and collaboration, the missing piece has been the easy strategy for finding the perfect professional partnership for like-minded or like-curricular collaboration. For sharing resources and effective practice. For connecting our learners with their counterparts (as well as relevant experts) across the globe. It’s been hard.
This will help.
Skype, the fabulous communication (peer-to-peer voice over Internet protocol–VoIP) tool with the super-slim learning curve, is getting more classroom friendly.
The new Skype in the Classroom global initiative is a
free community to help teachers everywhere use Skype to help their students learn. It’s a place for teachers to connect with each other, find partner classes and share inspiration.
Now in beta testing, Skype in the Classroom offers a directory, a growing clearinghouse of educational opportunities for partnership among the international teaching community. The new site explains:
Teachers all over the world are using Skype to make learning more exciting and memorable. It’s easy to see why: Skype offers an immediate way to help students discover new cultures, languages and ideas, all without leaving the classroom.
Cultural exchange: Introduce your students to new ways of seeing the world with a cultural exchange between your class and another classroom anywhere in the world.
Language skills: Bring language to life with real-life conversations where students can practice a new language with a class of native speakers, or help English learners practice their skills.
Discovery: Try mystery Skype calls, where classes connect online and give clues to help each guess the other’s location. Or introduce your students to a classroom in the location of a book they’re reading or a subject they’re studying.
Teachers can participate by creating a profile that includes their teaching interests and specialties, classes, languages, grade or age levels, and location and browse or search the growing community of profiles for connections. After finding a potential partner, a teacher may add that colleague as a Skype contact and begin a collaboration.
The project tab in allows users to post projects they initiate or to search for projects to join. Projects may be searched by type of participation–guest speaker,class, teacher; student age range; language; discipline; and tag.
I am going to share this with all my teachers.
And how about we claim some space in this environment and create some global library excitement and collaboration?
(Note: I wonder if the Skype folks would consider adding a filter for time zone and a time zone converter.)