Saturday, February 2, 2008

Skype pilots in the classroom

With the growing interest in video conferencing, the need to establish live contact with institutions that may not have high tech facilities available, and with the desire to promote one-to-one communications in a self serve mode, the EdTech department at Rice has worked with faculty members to establish the usability of Skype as an instructional tool.

At the beginning of December of 2007, Educause published this article: 7 Things You Should Know About Skype (ID: ELI7032)

Summary: Skype is a voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) application that lets users make free phone calls between Skype-equipped computers and inexpensive calls between Skype computers and landline or cell phones. Skype functions on a P2P model rather than as a centralized application, and it offers features such as voicemail, call forwarding, conference calling, and video chat. In most circumstances, Skype provides access to voice and video communication for a fraction of what other options cost. It allows more frequent contact between colleagues, collaborators, and friends and permits connections with those not likely to be in touch through conventional phone systems.

The "7 Things You Should Know About..." series from the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) provides concise information on emerging learning technologies. Each brief focuses on a single technology and describes what it is, where it is going, and why it matters to teaching and learning. Use these briefs for a no-jargon, quick overview of a topic and share them with time-pressed colleagues.

In addition to the "7 Things You Should Know About..." briefs, you may find other ELI resources useful in addressing teaching, learning, and technology issues at your institution.

You can download the pdf version of the article by following this link.

1 comment:

Anthro said...

Software based free video-conferencing in a tech enabled classroom is a very powerful tool, because it enables face to face communications in the context of the class.

Since the technology is already in place at the classroom (network-computer-audio-video & digital projector), tele conferencing is quite ubicuous, just adding the client software, a singe plug inexpensive mic/web-cam can get the students to relate to distant peers, adding the personal component to motivate further educational activities.