Top 10 Ways to Use Skype in Your Classroom

Skype is an online video phone service that you can use to call computer-to-computer (for free) or computer-to-phone, and the uses for the classroom are practically endless. This list includes our Top 10 favorite ways to use Skype service in your classroom. Visit Skype in the Classroom to find ways to connect with other teachers, classrooms, and professionals so you can implement the following ideas.
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Girls on laptop computer
Hold a Q&A with authors

Have you been studying a particular author recently? Use Skype to set up an interview with the author so students can learn about the ideas behind the book and the writing process. Many authors are too busy, or don't have the budget, to visit a school or classroom but would love to talk with students about his or her books. (Note: Stay safe! Please use caution when contacting individuals or allowing students to contact them.)

Visit Skype in the Classroom to find ways to connect with other teachers, classrooms, and professionals.

American Indian
Learn about different cultures first hand

While you may not be able to take a field trip to an Indian reservation, for example, you can tune into Skype to watch Native Americans demonstrate a dance. Or if you're celebrating the Chinese New Year in your classroom, use Skype to watch the festivities in progress—in China! Using Skype instead of watching a video means that far-away participants can answer questions (or teach dance steps) live.

Visit Skype in the Classroom to find ways to connect with other teachers, classrooms, and professionals.

Science experiment
Observe science experiments

Think your elementary class would benefit from seeing an experiment in rocket science but know it's too dangerous? Want your high school students to explore the anatomy of the human heart but know you can't afford it? Use Skype to observe science experiments that are too hazardous or expensive to perform in your classroom.

Visit Skype in the Classroom to find ways to connect with other teachers, classrooms, and professionals.

Students pointing at computer
Interview people around the world

If you've already mastered the author Q&A, it's time to move on to other notable people. How about a website creator? A sports hero? A composer? The possibilities are endless! (Note: Stay safe! Please use caution when contacting individuals or allowing students to contact them.)

Visit Skype in the Classroom to find ways to connect with other teachers, classrooms, and professionals.

Students in computer lab
Follow adventures online

There are plenty of organizations online that broadcast their educational adventures. One such organization is FindingLife (Findinglife.ca). This past fall, the group led an expedition to climb Mount Cho Oyu. They relayed with classes back home via webisodes, blogs, Skype, and photos. The focus of this expedition was on goal setting and overcoming challenges, along with the culture of the people of the Himalayas. Check out this organization and others to help students get inspired!

Student typing at computer
Tutoring

Use Skype to tutor underprivileged students overseas, or give your students extra help after normal school hours. Or, encourage high-performing students in your class to help struggling students in lower grades via Skype.

Visit Skype in the Classroom to find ways to connect with other teachers, classrooms, and professionals.

Bullying,ChildUsingComputer,Internet
Communicate with penpals

Do your students have penpals? For a change, they can use Skype to communicate face-to-face with their far-away friends. (If you're looking for a place to find penpals for your students, we like epals. Please use common sense and get parental permission before allowing students to speak with anyone over the Internet.)

Boy using computer in library
Practice foreign language skills

The best method for learning foreign language skills: practice, practice, practice! And while practicing with classmates and teachers is always useful, talking with a native speaker is an invaluable lesson in proper grammar, intonation, and vocabulary. Use Skype to speak with students in another country (perhaps your town has a "sister city"?); foreign students are probably just as eager to practice their English. (Note: Stay safe! Please use caution when contacting individuals or allowing students to contact them.)

Visit Skype in the Classroom to find ways to connect with other teachers, classrooms, and professionals.

Teacher and student talking
Mentoring

If you have years of teaching experience under your belt, use that knowledge for good: mentor new teachers in your school or town. Of course, if you can meet in person, that's great, but if you're too busy—and who isn't—grab a cup of coffee and sit down to a conversation over Skype.

Visit Skype in the Classroom to find ways to connect with other teachers, classrooms, and professionals.

Teacher lecture
Broadcast lectures to students not in class

Sometimes children catch illnesses that require them to miss school for an extended period of time, but they still want to stay up-to-date on their assignments. A live feed of a lecture will make any absent student feel a part of the classroom, instead of missing out. Plus, they will be able to ask questions after the lecture—just like anyone else.

Apple iPhone
Next: Top 10 Educational Technology Resources
Need more ideas for incorporating technology into your curriculum? Check out our favorite educational technology resources!

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