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Skype and the classroom
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1828

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:36 pm    Post subject: Skype and the classroom Reply with quote

Hello. Can anyone recommend useful reading about using Skype for classroom teaching? (I am experienced as a teacher of EFL/ESL, so my request is specific to using technology - especially for TEFL - not for a 'how to teach English' beginners book.)
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1207

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are a couple of things I found out about using Skype.

- If you've got limited bandwidth, you're better off limiting the number of participants. That means charging an appropriate amount for a one-to-one lesson.

- If you've got video capabilities, make sure you have decent light for the webcam. Otherwise you look a bit gruesome and overlit. Pay attention to the background, as well. Too busy and it's distracting. Plain colour (ie white) is best.

- you can email docs with Skype. But even better is for you and the student to sign up to Scribblar (free) which provides you with doc sharing and chat. Once you're in Scribblar, you can then both click on Skype to have the voice / video functionality of Skype.

(I haven't tested this all out myself, but just a few introductory pointers.) It would be great if others can contribute! Has anyone used Google hangouts, for example?
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1828

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Classroom teaching is what I am looking at, not one-to-one. However points taken about lighting and a white screen. Thanks.
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off2class



Joined: 24 Feb 2014
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although Skype lets you screen share, I wouldn't say its designed for it (limited functionality). I like to use Zoom.us - its only $10 a month for an unlimited account and it works well. It also deals with limited bandwidth situations, quite a lot better than Skype.
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1828

PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, that looks interesting. I will certainly look into it.

Can I just check though? You only joined this forum yesterday. Do you have an interest in Zoom (i.e. rewarded or intending to be rewarded in terms of pay, goods or services)?
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off2class



Joined: 24 Feb 2014
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolutely no interest in Zoom! I'm just a loyal customer. I've taught literally hundreds of hours of classes on their software and I love it. There are a couple drawbacks, namely that participants can hit a button to share their screen (and you can't stop them) which is a bit annoying if you're teaching young learners.

I run a site called www.off2class. We provide lesson plans for teachers (our focus is on teachers that run their own private lessons).
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1828

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks very much for that. Much appreciated. (Do check your own url, by the way; the site appears to be unavailable at the moment.)
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kpjf



Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 146

PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

off2class wrote:
Absolutely no interest in Zoom! I'm just a loyal customer. I've taught literally hundreds of hours of classes on their software and I love it. There are a couple drawbacks, namely that participants can hit a button to share their screen (and you can't stop them) which is a bit annoying if you're teaching young learners.

I run a site called www.off2class. We provide lesson plans for teachers (our focus is on teachers that run their own private lessons).


coledavis wrote:
Thanks very much for that. Much appreciated. (Do check your own url, by the way; the site appears to be unavailable at the moment.)


Wasn't a good plug was it! He/she forgot to add the "com" at the end. That's why it didn't work.
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off2class



Joined: 24 Feb 2014
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Guys, yes the plug failed miserably. If interested in hitting the URL, http://www.off2class.com should work this time!

But in all seriousness, you should check out Zoom.us for your videoconferencing needs. Its a much stronger system for teaching compared to Skype and it doesn't have oodles of unneeded features like WizIQ which I found could cause confusion for both the teacher and the student.
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1828

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried Wiziq and wasn't impressed. Basic features did not work.
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1828

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

off2class wrote:
Hey Guys, yes the plug failed miserably. If interested in hitting the URL, http://www.off2class.com should work this time!
Should but didn't, to quote:
This webpage is not available
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8928
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's perhaps a naive question, but is there anyway to safeguard against Skype lessons being recorded and then re-used at a later date? Or used as evidence of undeclared work? My new best friend Ed Snowman says that thousands of lessons are routinely intercepted and stored by the NSA on a daily basis.

That should concentrate minds, surely...
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1828

PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting questions. Assuming your Skype lessons are interactive, then their value as recordings are rather akin to textbooks that have been passed on: better than nothing but nowhere near as useful to the student as actually having attended the lessons.

Assuming the NSA communicates with your country's tax authorities, then if you haven't declared your income, you are likely to have to join one of these collectivised schools, where they keep 95% of the earnings but you are allowed to eat the pencils.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8928
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pencils are very underrated nutritionally. Kept many a family going during the Stalingrad blockade.

But back to the main point - you will all rue the day Skype was adopted by TEFLers! Overrated as a teaching tool, but highly effective at driving down lesson fees. Beware, beware!!
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fat_chris



Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 3135

PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Highly Esteemed Comrade Sasha,

Hangin' wit da Snowman!

Oh! When I saw that you had responded to this thread, for a second there, I had thought that you had become a "TEFLin' Techie" (whatever that really means).

Good to see that it's otherwise. Luddism lives! Notebooks, pencils, chalk, and blackboards forever! That's the path towards real learnin' sayeth I.

Yours in Comradeship,
fat_chris
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