The growth of Skype (http://www.skype.com/intl/en/home) in Australian schools is giving children the opportunity to learn beyond their classroom walls, experience other cultures and have access to other educators in different parts of Australia and the globe. Skype in the Classroom (education.skype.com ), which is a project developed by Skype after realising how many teachers were using the service, has grown to a community of over 20,000 members. It’s a community for teachers to access the skills of other teachers across the Australia and the Globe and connect with classrooms from the other side of the world to work jointly on projects and even partake in digital excursions – all without leaving the class room.
In remote areas, students are able to take part in lessons via online video chat (http://www.skype.com/intl/en/features/allfeatures/video-call), opening up opportunities and ways of learning that they didn’t previously have. Richard Barry, Principle of Doomadgee State School, a remote school in Queensland Australia comments on the use of technology in remote schools to provide his students with the same opportunities as those in urban areas:
“Our students need to be able to engage in technologies so that they have the same unique chance(s) as other students to engage in the global economy”
Tutorials via video conference are engaging and fun. Dr David Manallack of Monash University, ran an experiment with a class from Lionel Walden Primary School in Cambridgeshire, UK demonstrating the Coriolis Effect experiment. Students were able to see the different direction objects move when in the southern and northern hemispheres.*
With improving connection speeds and increasing access to broadband across the country, Skype hopes to continue to contribute to the education of Australian students through its services such as online video chat (http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/features/allfeatures/video-call/) and Instant Messenger ( http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/features/allfeatures/instant-messaging/).
Skype is a software-based communications platform that offers high-quality, easy-to-use tools for both consumers and businesses to communicate and collaborate globally through voice, video and text conversations. Founded in 2003 and based in Luxembourg, our mission is to be the communications platform of choice around the world. We enable users with virtually any Internet-connected device to communicate with each other by voice, video and instant message for free, or make low cost voice calls to fixed or mobile numbers virtually anywhere in the world. We had 124 million average monthly connected users for the three months ended June 30, 2010 and our users placed 95 billion calling minutes over Skype in the first half of 2010, approximately 40% of which were video. Skype can be downloaded onto computers, mobile phones and other connected devices for free at www.skype.com. Access to a broadband Internet connection is required. Skype is not a replacement for traditional telephone service and cannot be used for emergency calling. Skype Connect is meant to complement existing traditional telephone services used with a corporate PBX, not as a stand-alone solution. Skype Connect users need to ensure all calls to emergency services are terminated through traditional telephone services. Skype, associated trademarks and logos and the “S” symbol are trademarks of Skype Limited.