A-Z Tools & Technologies: Skype
What is it?
Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice and video calls over the internet. It was founded in August 2003 by two software developers Nicklas Zennstrom and Janus Friiu: it was bought by Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5 billion http://www.skype.com/en/
How does it work?
One of its’ main attractions is its’ simplicity and its accessibility (free of charge for Skype to Skype calls). All that is required to communicate with another user is a webcam (optional), a microphone and speakers, a computer or mobile device and an internet connection: this enables communication anywhere in the world. I have personally used it to connect with my family when attending a conference in Chile.
What are the implications for Teaching and Learning?
Within occupational therapy, the video conferencing aspect of the software has been used as a method to synchronise a tutorial between a student on an international placement (for example in Portugual, Swaziland, Zimbabwe) with one of their university tutors. This provides the opportunity for the student to reflect on their new, usually very culturally diverse experience and discuss this this in light of their classroom experience here at YSJ. It also allows face- to face collaboration between the university tutor and international educator: this enables discussion on how the student is progressing towards attainment of the module (professional practice module) learning outcomes. Skype is also being considered for use as an assessment method for a level 3 student’s final viva on the grounds of inclusivity, so a student doesn’t have to travel a significant distance to the university: the ability to record the Skype session to meet the requirements for external examiners is currently being considered.
How do you Skype for Teaching, Learning and Assessment? Please let us know in the comments box below…