March 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Skype Announces Free Group Video Calling for Teachers | SXSWEdu


 The ability for classrooms to beam in authors, subject experts, and fellow students from around the world has been one of the great advantages afforded by Skype. Commonly used by librarians and other K–12 educators to provide real-time engagement for their students, the service just got better. As of today, existing members of Skype in the classroom or new registrants can use Skype’s Group Video Calling free of charge.

A feature previously available only to paid Skype Premium subscribers, Group Video Calling allows users to connect via Webcam with up to 10 parties. Skype’s blog post details instructions for signing up for free video calling. (Authentication may take 48 hours)

Launched in March 2011, Skype in the classroom offers searchable “lessons,” which enable educators worldwide to connect with each other around various subjects. “My sixth graders from Philadelphia are seven chapters into The Watsons Go to Birmingham,” reads one lesson, for example. “Is your class also reading it? If so, lets plan an activity of some sort. Maybe a book discussion.”

Skype in the Classroom’s partners program includes Penguin Books, LitWorld, Random House Children’s UK, Macmillan Children’s Books, and new partners announced today: Hot Key Books and Pan Macmillan.

New to Skype? Author Kate Messner offers practical advice in her feature articles for SLJ:

Author Visits? A Remote Possibility: Using Skype to connect is fun and affordable

Met Any Good Authors Lately? Classroom author visits can happen via Skype

Kathy Ishizuka About Kathy Ishizuka

Kathy Ishizuka ( on Twitter) is the Executive Editor of  School Library Journal.

Facts Matter: Information Literacy for the Real World
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