Skype Connects Teachers and Classrooms across the Globe

LUXEMBOURG, March 30th, 2011 – School teachers and students everywhere now have an easy way to find each other for collaborative projects and shared learning through a new online platform provided by Skype. Skype in the classroom is a free global community created in response to, and in consultation with, the growing number of teachers using Skype to help their students learn. Teachers can use the tool to collaborate with other teachers, and find partner classes and guest speakers. Skype in the classroom is designed to help like-minded teachers find each other and relevant projects according to search criteria such as the age groups they teach, location and subjects of interest; and teaching resources can be easily shared and found.

In the past, many teachers have found that the biggest challenge to using Skype in their classrooms has been finding similar classes to pair with. Skype in the classroom presents a solution by bringing like-minded teachers together online and making it easy for them to share skills and ideas.

Today more and more teachers all over the world use Skype to make learning more exciting, interactive and memorable. From language studies and geography lessons to virtual field trips and expert speakers joining classes from afar, Skype video offers an immediate way to help students discover new cultures, languages and ideas, all without leaving the classroom. In addition, teachers are being encouraged to do more to share their expertise and experiences systematically in ways that go beyond the mere exchange of information. It is also reported that teachers who exchange ideas and information and co-ordinate their practices with other teachers report more positive teacher-student relations at their own schools.*

The platform, which has been in beta since the end of December, already has a community of more than 3900 teachers, across 99 countries. Kara Cornejo, who teaches a 5th grade class in Missouri, USA, and is an avid Skype user, found five schools around the world to collaborate with on an international weather project within just one day of joining. “Skype in the classroom is an amazing resource to find teachers to collaborate with and to bring people into your classroom that you would never have been able to.”

The Global Learning Exchange, a program designed to create borderless classrooms and allow students to learn about other cultures seamlessly has been using Skype video for four years. Regular exchanges between Jurong West primary school children in Singapore and Bill Williams Elementary school students in California, USA “has helped all 260 students from both schools build relationships with one another and facilitated learning that is not limited by geographical borders,” said co-founder Manuel Rose Delema. “Skype makes learning fun and engaging as children look forward to meeting their global friends and asking questions.”

In a similar way, Skype is also used to connect 9-10 year old students at Lakanal school in Lille, France with their peers in Prince Edouard Island, Canada. “Before arranging the first video call, our students exchanged letters and emails but we decided to bring the two classes together face-to-face over Skype video to enrich their relationship,” said Christophe Fetat, the teacher at Lakanal school. “The result was amazing. Students were really engaged to discuss different topics. It is really a simple and effective way to exchange ideas, learn and bring other cultures into the class.”

“Skype is committed to removing the barriers to communications and enabling conversations around the world with technology that is easy to use and affordable,” said Tony Bates, Skype Chief Executive Officer. “Skype in the classroom has been developed for a specific community of people who have a shared interest and are passionate about using technology in inventive ways in their classroom. We’ve received positive feedback from teachers and are keen to continue developing the site to meet their needs and help school children around the world work together in wonderful ways never thought possible.”

To join Skype in the classroom, teachers should:

  1. Sign up at education.skype.com using their Skype account details
  2. Create a profile which includes their interests, location and the age groups they teach
  3. Explore the directory to find projects, teachers and resources that match their skills, needs or interests

Skype in the classroom is a members-only community. Once teachers find someone they want to connect with they can add that person as a Skype contact or send them a message through the site.

To find projects, teachers, resources, and inspiration visit education.skype.com

* According to the last Background Report for the International Summit on the Teaching Profession – OCDE 2011

About Skype
Skype is a communications software whose purpose is to break down barriers to communication. With an Internet-connected device, families, friends and colleagues can get together for free with messaging, voice and video. At low cost, they can also call landlines or mobiles virtually anywhere in the world. Skype has recently introduced group video, allowing groups of more than two people to do things together whenever they’re apart.

Founded in 2003 and based in Luxembourg. Skype can be downloaded onto computers, mobile phones and other connected devices for free at www.skype.com.

You can get news and updates from Skype in the classroom via Twitter: twitter.com/SkypeClassroom or Facebook: www.facebook.com/skypeintheclassroom and from Skype on its blogs.skype.com, 
Twitter: twitter.com/skype, or Facebook: www.facebook.com/skype.

Qik Launches New iPhone Video Apps

LUXEMBOURG, 23 March 2011 — Today Qik, mobile video software recently acquired by Skype, launched a new iPhone app called Qik Video Connect. The new app enables individuals to stay connected with friends and family through video calling, video messaging, and video sharing.
With Qik Video Connect, users can instantly share what is happening around them with friends and family through a live video call. If they aren’t able to connect live, then users can still share all the rich details of the moment by sending a video mail. They can even post a live video link to Facebook and Twitter so friends can watch the moment as it is being recorded. The new social video feed makes it easy to follow what friends are doing by receiving alerts when new videos are shared and watching those videos right from the phone.

Whether it’s capturing a greeting for your loved ones, recording a video of your child as they score the winning goal, or having a video chat while you’re away from your friends and family – Qik makes it simple to record, share and stay connected through video.

There are two versions of the application available to consumers – Qik Video Connect and Qik Video Connect Plus. The latter is available for $2.99 and offers additional features such as:

  • Real-time effects: Customize and enhance video chat and live video streaming with seven effects and filters.
  • Video editing: Use simple video editing tools directly from your device to share the best moments.
  • HD quality: Upload and share true HD quality videos captured on your phone.

“In a world of fast and readily available 3G and WiFi connections, video allows you to transcend the current world of text and photo messages to share special and everyday moments in a more meaningful way,” said Rick Osterloh, head of consumer products for Skype. “Qik Video Connect makes the concept of ‘see what I see’ a full reality.”

Qik Video Connect

Both the Qik Video Connect and Connect Plus apps enable live video chat over 3G* or WiFi between iPhones, iPod Touches with built-in cameras. Qik is integrated with your phone’s contact list so you can easily see when your friends and family are available for a live video chat. In addition, you can also send a private video mail through email or SMS if your friends and family aren’t able to talk live, no matter what device or phone network they are on.

Both apps are available for download today through the Apple App store for iPhone and 4th generation iPod Touch models with iOS 4 or later. For additional information, visit qik.com.

* Additional data charges may apply. To get the best quality, Qik recommends a strong WiFi connection for video chat.

About Qik

Qik is part of the Skype suite of products and provides mobile video software that enables individuals to capture spontaneous life moments with their smart phones from anywhere and instantly share those moments with friends, family and followers. The Qik service is available on over 200 mobile phones across the Android, iPhone, Symbian, Blackberry and Windows Mobile platforms.

About Skype

Skype is a communications platform provider whose purpose is to break down barriers to communication. With an Internet-connected device, families, friends and colleagues can get together for free with messaging, voice and video. At low cost, they can also call landlines or mobiles virtually anywhere in the world. Skype has recently introduced group video, allowing groups of more than two people to do things together whenever they're apart. Skype was founded in 2003 and is based in Luxembourg. Skype can be downloaded onto computers, mobile phones and other connected devices for free at www.skype.com.