I have talked from my home near the mountains in South Carolina to another teacher across the state near the beach in South Carolina. If this doesn’t amaze you, maybe my conversation one morning with another educator in Australia who needed help testing out her Skype before she had a conference. I find this amazing because I never would have imagined talking to someone on the other side of the world and all for free!
In the Horizon Project 2008, students from around the world analyze, compile information, and share their predications based on the report in a "Wikinomics"-style mass collaboration. The Horizon Project 2008 teachers use Skype to conference and discuss logistics about the project and I am fascinated by listening that there are people from all over the world that participate in this conference by using Skype. If nothing else, just listening to all of the different accents is wonderful. Eventually the students will be conferencing using Skype to collaborate on their specific project. When I see all the different adults and students involved in this project, I can see that Skype is a necessity for this to work.
When I am on twitter, I see lots of calls for collaboration from teachers looking to collaborate with people from other countries. This is a great opportunity for students to learn about other cultures and social expectations. What better way to teach tolerance and cultural diversity!
I just wonder why more classrooms are not using this free tool. Is it because it is blocked in school districts? Or are teachers afraid to try it? If it is not blocked, how can we more teachers using Skype?