How I Use It
So far, I have used Skype to connect my kids with guest readers. We have a strong parent group of volunteers in our school, but my class had their grandparents take days to read stories throughout the year. We would set up a time and date and then Skype the grandparent and that person would then read a story to our kids and interact with them. Some of the grandparents lived far away and would then explain details about the places they lived such as England. The kids whose grandparents were able to participate really enjoyed "showing off" their grandmas or grandpas to the class. It was a great way to build relationships. Skype was also easy enough for the grandparents to set up. I'd like to broaden my use and connect kids with experts in different fields.
Skype has a lot of potential in the classroom. It is an easy and free way to visually connect my students with other people nationally and internationally. I see it as a great way to allow students to speak directly to people in different fields and do inquiry-based learning and research. I am not that good with technology and this was easy for me to set up and use. I also like that people don't have to have certain cell providers, etc. to use Skype. I did have to invest in a better camera than the one built in on my computer. I think this could make me a better teacher because I could connect my kids with people who work in industries we are studying or with other schools. It could be a great way to do pen pals instead of emailing or writing.