Weller, J. Travis (2010) Playing with Skype. Learning and Leading with Technology, 37(6), 28-29. Retrieved April 21st 2010, from http://www.learningandleading-digital.com/learning_leading/20100304#pg30
This article described an excellent example of how to use the new free internet based communication device called Skype. The author Travis Weller was able to successfully connect high school band students to the composers whose music they played. In the first Skype session with a composer the students learned first hand from a free lance composer about the business end of creating music. Later the teacher organized to have the composers “Skyped-in” at a live concert to introduce their pieces that the students would then play. Weller felt that the time it took to learn and set up the Skype technology was well worth the enriching benefits. Access to this type of technology is not cost prohibitive. Not only is the Skype program over the internet with webcam options free all that is needed to set up a system is two internet capable computers and webcams.
How does this technology change the classroom?
The use of Skype in the classroom to gain access to experts in the field goes beyond the classroom setting and allows for opportunities that may never be able to occur at the school or even on a field trip. The use of this technology can make the world that they have access to bigger and be an enriching learning experience for them.
What is another example of how this technology could be used?
The Skype technology for classrooms has many possible applications. To further the ideas for music students could Skype with other music classrooms and bands and perform for each other in a sort of “music-pal” sort of way. This would give the students a real and critical peer audience to practice for and could lead to exchange of ideas about the meaning of different pieces.
Skype could provide science teachers many opportunities to introduce experts in various fields to the classroom for interviews and primary source information. Students for example could interview scientist in Antarctica or in tropical forest field stations. All of these experiences would provide students with more intriguing material as well as introduce them to people in various career fields.