The Skype video chat service has long been used by teachers to connect students with the world outside their reach, from guest speakers to partner classrooms located around the globe. And with today’s launch of “Skype in the classroom,” providing that service has become an official goal of the company, and teachers can now more easily get help and advice from other educators to expand their students’ worldview.
According the the company’s press release, “in the classroom” is “a place for teachers to connect with each other, find partner classes and share inspiration.” It allows teachers to create their own profiles, through which they can describe their classes and their teaching goals. This feature also enables teachers to discuss practices with other educators, and to learn techniques they might not otherwise have access to.
Another feature of “in the classroom” is projects. Teachers can create projects, which are posted on the Skype website. These projects are viewable to any of the other teacher who use the “in the classroom” service. Teachers from anywhere in the world can collaborate on these projects with other teachers, and learn from those who have tried similar projects.
The last primary aspect of “Skype in the classroom” is its resources section. According to Skype, its resources list is stacked with “videos, links and tips” for teachers. Teachers can add additional resources in order to “create a huge, sharable library of teaching ideas.”
“In the classroom” has been in beta since December, and had already brought together more than 3900 teachers from classrooms around the globe. Since the service’s official launch this morning, that number has already risen to 4582 at the time of this writing. It also boasts 36 active projects, and 317 resources, so far.
Of course, the greater the number of teachers using “in the classroom,” the more valuable the service becomes. Right now, there were a number of instance of early-launch clutter, like projects simply labeled “test 1.” But given how useful Skype already is for teaching 21st Century children, “in the classroom” seems like an obvious next step.