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Skype and Distant Learning Software

Page history last edited by Mike King 9 years, 7 months ago

The Implications of Classroom Instruction and Open Source Distant Learning Software


The management skills required of today's educators and curriculum developers will include the ability to assess the importance of distant learning courses, and to develop policies that support  the integration of these new instructional delivery formats within the given standards of the required curriculum.


The evolutions of technology-based distant learning instructional formats and open source software applications like Moodle, Skype, DimDim and Voice Thread are creating new  issues for school content developers as online learning opportunities become more prevalent among school-aged children. Many students and parents are beginning to be introduced to the potentials of taking course work outside of the school day to earn additional credits or to substitute course work that is being offered by their schools. School officials of the future will be expected to manage and understand the nature of distant learning technologies and have the skills to manage them.


To fully appreciate the nature of distant learning capabilities, the educator must first understand the definitions associated with the instructional formats of distant learning technologies. Present learning technologies can be separated into two distinct delivery systems of synchronous or asynchronous instruction. Synchronous instruction occurs when the instructor and student's primary interactions are in real-time. Regular classroom instruction is synchronous instruction, as well as two-way interactive video.


Web-based instruction that requires real-time interaction between student(s) and instructor as the primary format of instruction is also synchronous instruction. Asynchronous instruction is not dependent on instructor and student interaction in real time. Asynchronous instruction allows the student to engage in learning activities anywhere at any time. For instruction to be considered asynchronous, the primary format of instruction does not depend on real-time interaction of the participants.


Cisco Telepresence Magic

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Creating Classrooms Without Walls

A Video by Mike King

What is Skype?

Skype, is an open source software program that allows anyone to talk to anyone else in the world over the Internet for free. The software program is easy to install and can be downloaded at the following site. People and classrooms around the globe are using Skype as a part of their daily communication plans to keep in touch with friends, classmates, classrooms and family member with a clearer as a cell phone voice connection. You can easily ad a webcam for video connection to see the person or classroom you are visiting with. You can have as many as 9 users on an audio only conference call. Just imagine the benefits of creating classrooms without walls.


Classroom Usage

Skype's ease-of-use and video conferencing capability make it a hugely beneficial tool in helping students connect with others outside of the classroom walls. The greatest benefits for classroom use is  that teachers can quickly and easily invite guests from all over the world to speak to their students. Additionally, social studies and foreign language teachers can use Skype to connect with classes in other countries to share experiences in their native language and language arts teachers, with the help of the school librarian can connect with the authors to share and read literature. A science teacher from another school or university could use Skype's video and audio resources connections to demonstrate the scientific process through various lab experiments.  A zoologist could share the habitats of different animals while a doctor could discuss the impotent's of sustaining a healthy lifestyle.  



Skype is an easy to use a free teleconferencing conferencing software program that has been noted to use up school network resources. Used wisely with the right notification schedule to the Districts Information Technology Department would ease some bandwidth stress on the schools network during low peak times.  Also schedules and time zones can limit the ability to arrange for a call with an invited guest who is outside a classrooms meeting time.


Want to hold a Skype conference, or teleconference to a distant place and need to know what time it is in the place your are calling; paste the widget Time-In.info code into your Wiki or blog. Just simply replace the word "Japan" with your own location and copy/paste the code into your plug-in or blog/website html reader. The Time-In.info clock widget is the most clean, simple, and easy way to put information from any place in the world on your website.


What Do I Need to Go Skyping?

To have a successful Skype you will need just four key components, an internet connection, a microphone/ headset, video camera and the link or location to start downloading the software. The last step is to Install Skype which only takes only a few minutes. Just go to the Skype Download page and click the Download button and Follow the directions for downloading Skype onto your computer.

Skype Resources

How to Use Skype

How To Use Skype - An Instructional - Watch a funny movie here



Resources for Getting Started and Using Skype


Find out how you can take advantage of Skype with the advice below.

  1. Using Skype in the Classroom (or just learning how to use it!). This teacher provides the basics to get Skype set up with your class.
  2. Skype in the Classroom. This article offers help on ways to set up Skype, tips for finding other teachers on Skype, technical obstacles, and more.
  3. Skype Tutorials for Teachers, Authors, Librarians. Find a handful of video and text tutorials here to get you going with Skype.
  4. Classroom Collaboration with Skype. This primer offers help with using Skype, connecting with others, and ideas for using it in the classroom.
  5. eduwikius – SKYPE. This wiki contains plenty of information about using Skype in the classroom and also provides links to additional resources.
  6. A Skype from the classroom. Find information on videoconferencing in general, the pros and cons of using Skype, school project ideas, and more here.
  7. Using skype in the classroom. Learn from this teacher’s experience as she describes using Skype and how to best prepare your class and yourself for a great educational opportunity.
  8. Skype is a Valuable Educational Tool. This podcast explains why teachers should use Skype and puts some nasty rumors about Skype to rest.
  9. Using Skype in schools – some tips. Read these helpful tips, including suggestions on using Skype usernames at school and home.
  10. Skype: Talk to Anyone, Anywhere for Free. Watch this “techtorial” or print the text version to learn the basics of Skype.

Dimdim is an open source web-based meeting solution along the lines of WebEx, GotoMeeting or Raindance. With Dimdim service you can freely host meetings with up to 20 participants and you can show Presentations, Applications and Desktops to any other person over the internet. You can chat, show your webcam and talk with others in the meeting.  If you have used Skype then you have a bit of an idea of what Dimdim does, what is different is that you can share presentation software. Dimdim also supports video conferencing. 


Kevin Honeycutt: Skype in the Classroom



Tokbox is a free video chat online video conferencing solution that allows up to 20 users at one time. Tokbox.com provides online services for conferencing such as video chats, instant messaging, and the emailing of video messages. The browser-based online service provides a dedicated url for referencing calls and provides contact services that can be sent or hosted in a directory. Users can also schedule an event when multiple participants can linkup to a video conference. For more information on Tokbox preview Palm Breez video below.



Implications of Distant Learning





Implications of Distant Learning

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