Skype has just launched a new service called Skype In The Classroom, which is a social network with a purpose. The purpose being, to bring together teachers and students from all over the world.
For some time now, educators have been making use of Skype to connect with each other. To help them further, Skype had launched this service in beta last December. It is now a full-fledged social network available across the world.
The service was developed with the help of teachers who were already using Skype for educational purposes. Through Skype In The Classroom, teachers from different parts of the world can get in touch with each other, to broaden their knowledge of a given subject or project., through an exchange of ideas and information.
Educators can find each other by filtering based on certain criteria such as subjects of interest, location and age group they teach.
During the beta phase itself, the service was available across 99 countries and was used by 4,000 people. Now, they have over 8,400 teachers on board with 290 project discussions.
Interested teachers can sign up using their Skype id, and create a profile by filling in their details, which will be stored in a directory. Others can then go through this directory to find teachers from the same field. They can also locate others in the same field by searching for specific keywords.
Discussion about Anti-Bullying project posted on Skype in the classroom
Educators will be able to enhance their own knowledge of a subject and then impart it to their students. The possibilities are endless. The service will also make it possible for students to be addressed by guest lecturers or even to have interactive sessions with students from other institutes.
Teachers in Peru could setup video conferences with teachers in England to teach their respective classes English & Spanish! Others could collaborate on anti-bullying and other social efforts that concern most educators.
A similar service, called EDge, was launched last year by The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, which is a primarily American organisation. However, Skype’s worldwide user base might help make it a more popular choice.