Mrs. Henrey has homework too. This time my assignment is a Case Study

Using Skype in the Classroom

What Is it???? And why did I choose it for my case study???

Skype is video conferencing for free using a downloaded program and the internet. It has been around for longer than I realized, but in true educational delay I have only begun to hear about it being used in the classroom recently. I chose it because I was intrigued by the possible uses for my classroom. Due to the economy it is nearly impossible for me to take my class on field trips but I really want my students to visit new places and meet professionals in the area of study. I felt Skype was a great way to have "field trips" and "meet experts"

Excerpt from

"Skype is a software program that allows teachers and students to communicate with other teachers and students anywhere in the world using the Internet. Skype is used to make free video and voice calls, send instant messages, and share files with other classrooms or teachers. This program also provides one of the optimum methods for allowing students to work collaboratively with other students around the world.
Using Skype provides an opportunity for students in a foreign language class to connect with classes in other countries to practice their language skills. This free Internet service allows science students to collaborate with a science class or classes inside or outside their school to share data and experiment findings. Social studies students can conduct a virtual visit to another country hosted by another school or museum."

Read more at Suite101: Tips for Using Skype in the Classroom: Teaching Strategies for Ensuring Successful Use of This Online Tool

Skype may be viewed by some parents as ain infringement of privacy. It is essentially video taping students for others to see and manipulate. Whoever the students are talking to could potentially record the Skype cast and alter it or use it to their benefit without the parents permission. Any teacher wanting to use Skype in the classroom should obtain explicit parent permission in writing so that their cannot be any recourse later. Many teachers would argue that the student's whose parents agreed to their child's photo being used at the beginning of the school year are allowed to use the Skype however it would not be too prudent to verify explicitly, the usage of Skype or any other video conferencing. You also would want to ensure that your students are calling the right people and only accepting phone calls from the people that you are wanting them to talk too. It is possible for outside people to contact your student if they happen across their name in the directory.

There are many uses of Skype in the classroom. Video conferencing allows students to see and hear things they never would be able to. Students can go on virtual field trips. They can meet students from other parts of the country to collaborate on projects. Students can interview specialists or authors. The greatest gift of skype is that it enables students to remain in their classrooms but visit the world for free. In the future I foresee Skype becoming common place for teachers to teach classes far away. Our own school district sent a group of teachers to Cape Canaveral to visit the astronauts. The teachers were projected via Skype to the school auditorium where the students witnessed the teachers float in one of the experiments.

Some uses for Skype:
-Interviewing students in another region one on one
-"meeting" an expert of a trade
-Virtually visiting places
-Parent teacher conferences
-sharing experiences with absent or distant students

History of Telephones Timeline Created by Me (scroll side to side. If you don't see much try zooming in or's not the best and it was a frustrating program to use but I hate to throw the "baby out with the bathwater".)

Kidspiration Graphic

Brief History of Skype

Founded in 2003
"Sky Peer to Peer" became "Skyper" but the domain names were taken so it became Skpe
2005 banned in China
2006 over 100 million users!
Upgrades every year added features such as Sony PSP capabilities and "send money"
2010 13% of all phone calls is through Skype.

My assignment was to explain what technology I felt was the most important technology created. Hmmmm maybe I should have you, my students, share your opinion as well?

The Merriam Webster Dictionary states that technology is the practical application of knowledge.

In my opinion the most important technological advance of all time has been written word. Written word has allowed humans to communicate their ideas, create monetary systems, spread religious beliefs, but most importantly it has allowed for education.

Writing, which originated with hieroglyphs and evolved to various alphabets, have allowed centuries of people of varied cultures to extend their knowledge of the world. If it weren’t for written words the amount of knowledge gained over the centuries would not have been possible.

Prior to written language there were many versions of languages around the world, however until cuneiform and later alphabets were created, people were limited in spreading knowledge and ideas.

I feel that communication has been the leading reason for all technology. Writing was the very first form of technology in communication. People have this innate drive to communicate. Or brains depend on it. If you were to look around you today most technology is based on being able to communicate; cell phones, internet, computers, telephones, fax machines, scanners, television, radio, and so many more.

It seems to me that once writing systems were created people wanted to increase their knowledge. The age of enlightenment and now the age of information all stem from the ability to communicate, print, type, write in some form or another.

To the first people, who decided to create cuneiform symbols and press them into clay, we owe you a tremendous thank you. Little did you know the doors you were opening for the future.

History of writing: