Thanks to Skype for offering us their “Getting Started” guide on using Skype effectively in the classroom. For almost three years now, we at Break Into English (https://englishclassviaskype.com/) have been using Skype technology (long-distance calling, shared screen options, instant messaging services…) to teach online English lessons to individuals or small groups around the world.
Reading this guide has definitely helped us improve the ways in which we engage our students in class. For example, the idea of assigning various roles to students during presentations or other performances is indeed a good way of keeping everyone involved in the activity. Whether they act as sharers, inquirers, researchers, timekeepers, or scribes, each student must participate in the performance.
using Skype effectively in the classroom from a technical point of view
Equally useful to us were the tips and advice on how to deal with audio, video, or connectivity problems while on a Skype call. It is true that very simple measures such as checking your Internet bandwidth connection, terminating the call and ringing back, or re-launching the Skype application often help to solve the occasional technical problems that can arise in class.
Our hope for the future is that Skype will develop other useful tools to help us make online teaching even more engaging and interesting.
The Break Into English Team