Skype in the Classroom is a service offered by Microsoft that enables teachers to connect their classrooms with experts, other teachers and classes all around the world (Microsoft, 2020b). Skype in the Classroom requires a teacher to visit the Skype in the Classroom website (www.skypeintheclassroom.com), sign up using an Office 365 or Microsoft Account, and choose how you would like your class to participate and set up your classroom profile and availability (Microsoft, 2020a). From here, you can participate in virtual field trips, guest speaker sessions, classroom conversations, collaborative project, special events or a game of Mystery Skype (Microsoft, 2020b). With language learners, Skype can “play a pivotal role in the development of English learning proficiency” (Saqib Khan, Ayaz, Khan, & Khan, 2016, p. 41). Skype can assist with the development of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills for EAL/D students (Saqib Khan et al., 2016)
- It is easy to connect with teachers or guest speakers from all over the world – the search feature is excellent.
- It is free.
- The use of video assists students in being able to improve their comprehension as they can look for and use non-verbal cues.
- The resources available on the Skype in the Classroom Site especially for playing a game of Mystery Skype are comprehensive and provide you with OneNote templates, printouts and lesson plans for the lessons surrounding the game, not just for the game itself.
- Uses equipment we all have – can operate off a phone or computer.
- Allows students to connect with guest speakers with whom they may never have had the chance in the past. For example, what better way to learn about the weather than from a meteorologist or learn about a new culture from those who live the lifestyle.
- Once connected Skype has the option to turn on subtitles to assist with understanding.
- Being able to access a guest speaker/class at a time which would suit your class.
- Classes/guest speakers sometimes do not turn up at the time organised.
- Students are unable to organise a Skype in the Classroom session as it has to be hosted by the educators.
- Relies on the quality of the equipment (webcam, internet connection) of both parties, which means sometimes there are issues with hearing or seeing the other side well.
Teaching and Learning
Skype in the Classroom is accessible for all classrooms, from students who are in Preschool to Year 12 including those students who have limited language skills. The amount of teacher input may change depending on the skill level of the students. Skype in the Classroom can fit in with any curriculum it just comes down to selecting the right guest speaker or class to connect with inline with the curriculum that you are currently working on with the students (Anderson, 2020). The idea behind using Skype in the Classroom is to improve the language skills (especially speaking and listening) of students within the context of what they are learning.
Anderson, S. (2020, 21st January) Skype in the Classroom at JPC/Interviewer: J.-A. Angell.
Microsoft. (2020a). Getting Started with Skype in the Classroom Educator Guide. Retrieved from https://1drv.ms/b/s!Ah6-kSoVK_2KnD7iWVsk0kfE9osp?e=HztzFS
Microsoft. (2020b). Skype in the Classroom. Retrieved from https://education.skype.com/
Saqib Khan, M., Ayaz, M., Khan, S., & Khan, D. (2016). Using Skype To Develop English Learners’ Speaking Motivation. 28, 41-48.