December 01, 2005

Skype: good enough for business - so good enough for schools now, too?

Skype_1For the past year I have been trying to convince my Local Education Authorities and the other 31 of them in Scotland to install Skype on every one of their office and school computers. What better way to get students talking for real to foreign students for nothing, nada, rien, nichts? The argument has always been that it's not safe for the computers (never any mention of it being dangerous for the kids, which I firmly believe it is not. It's a great tool for kids).

Well, 70% of businesses believe it is safe and acceptable to install on their systems.

I raise the challenge: who will be the first education authority in Scotland to install Skype on every school machine?

I wonder if Don or Don is reading this? Which one of the Dons will it be?

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Thankfully, I had no problem at all getting this passed in my school. Everyone here sees it as a valuable tool. Unfortunately, after installing it on all of the computers, Katrina blew through here and shut down school. I'll be getting my kids back in January, and I am ready to crank it up.

Maybe when we get back, we can do a Skype call with a group of my kids??

Are you Scottish in your origins, with a name like Mull? I'd LOVE to get a Skype conversation going between you and our school. I'm sure there would be an interesting school assembly in there somewhere!

There's a great post from weblogg-ed about 10 ideas for Skype in the classroom.
http://www.weblogg-ed.com/2005/10/27#a4140

I think lists like these would be a great resource for educators. And not just for Skype. You can create some great collaborative in-class/inter-class activities with Yahoo Messenger, Hello, even OneNote (not open source, I know but schools do use it and it's got some nice features.) And not just K-12 either, there's lots of interesting possibilities with reading, speaking or listening activities for ESL students as well.

Stephanie - just realised you're here in Paris, too. Where are you?

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is a teacher, speaker and investor, regarded as one of Europe’s foremost experts in digital media for public services.

His company, NoTosh Limited, invests in tech startups and film on behalf of public and private investors, works with those companies to build their creative businesses, and takes the lessons learnt from the way these people work back into schools and universities across the world.

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