Everyone knows that six-note melody that Skype makes when it launches as a background process on your computer. It’s a recognizable feature and gives Skype a little bit of character, even if it does freak you out when you forget that your volume is turned all the way up in the morning when you turn on your computer. Now imagine a whole bunch of classroom computers sounding out that start-up melody.
Skype is working to augment its Skype in the classroom platform by adding six new partner organizations to its roster. The new organizations include NASA’s Digital Learning Center, The National Museum of the Royal Navy and HMS Victory, British Council, Woodland Trust, Education through Expedition, and Choose2Matter.
Skype in the classroom is a free service that provides resources and tools that teachers can use. There are over 2,000 projects from Skype and its partners, and the six new organizations will swell that number even more.
NASA will provide students with projects and lessons about how to prepare a spacecraft for takeoff, learn about basic principles of matter, design and robotics. The National Museum will explore maritime-related history, from Admiral Nelson’s ship and stories from the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
The British Council will provide cross-cultural opportunities for students to interact with other all across the world. The Woodland Trust will be focusing on educating students about the environment, sending out 17,500 tree-planting packs to schools in the UK.
Video conferencing is a chance for students to reach out beyond the confines of the classroom and explore other opportunities. In Skype’s promotional video, it was exciting to see a group of American youngsters converse with other kids in their sister class in China. Here on Technapex, we enjoyed talking with James Puliatte, who once used Skype to teach his class from a hospital bed. Skype’s new partners bring additional projects and lessons to classrooms embracing the platform and more chances for kids to use video learning.