III. Skype/FaceTime


Skype is a downloadable software program which allows users to have voice and video contact over the internet. This peer to peer program, the name is a combination of 'sky' and 'peer", is a free service which is simply reliant on internet access and a web cam for video conferencing. Skype , and the similar Mac program Face Time, encourage global connectedness with instant, live interactions with partner cities and schools. The most direct and 'instant' of the technologies used by Sister School/City relationships, Skype can be used by individuals, groups, and entire classrooms to share educational projects or just share about life in their respective communities.

Skype is an exciting technology which seems be increasingly used by Sister Schools to enhance community understanding and interaction. A few of the YouTube videos below illustrate the possibilities of Skype interactions, notably the Skype "chess match"  between schools, and classroom introductions. The face to face aspect of this video technology adds a new dimension to connecting Sister School participants. Hearing student voices and having one-on-one, and even group conversations is particularly interesting for students. As one might expect, the majority of Skype sessions appear to conversational in nature, with administrators, mayors, and students visiting with each other. The example of the chess match shows a new creativity for the use of this technology, and pushes the possibilities in a new direction.

As with many technologies, there are limits to their full effectiveness according to access by the participants. In the case of Skype and Face Time, issues with broadband capabilities, video cameras, and even time zone differences can complicate its use for connecting schools and communities. Schools with minimal internet access, or with older equipment, will not be able to maximize this technological opportunity. Likewise, Sister Schools that have a large variation in time zones will also struggle to take advantage of class-wide meetings and introductions. Imagine arranging Skype conversations  with communities that are 10-12 hours difference. Direct, live interactions are a dynamic part of peer to peer video connectedness and offer a unique way to build relationships between partner schools.

 

The following links are examples of Skype sessions between Sister Schools. The links are a combination of newspaper and blog overviews of Skype sessions, as well as YouTube video of Skype conversations.


Westminster Christian Academy, Missouri and Saemmul Middle School, South Korea
Topic: Video footage of an online chess match using Skype

Skype Chess Match



Huntington, Washington and Taiwan

Topic: Overview of Skype session between schools
http://www.hufsd.edu/news/stories/2011/april/15a.html


Wiley Elementary School, Raleigh NC and South Korea
Topic: Overview of Skype session between schools
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=px_bW3_rFDg

Skype from North Carolina to South Korea



St. Teresa Academy, Missouri and Tsu, Japan
Topic: Overview of Skype session between schools
http://www.dartnewsonline.com/2011/04/freshmen-skype-sister-school-in-japan/


Westminster Christian Academy, St. Louis Missouri and Seoul, South Korea
Topic: YouTube montage of Skype Chess Match
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXTjMXRdVOQ

Montage of Skype Chess Match



SMK Datuk Peter Mojuntin, Australia and  Tallangatta Secondary College, Malaysia
Topic: Overview of Skype session between schools
http://dpmsisterschool.blogspot.com/2010/05/skype-link-up-on-lestari-expo.html


England and Varkala, India
Topic: Overview of Skype session between schools
http://www.schooljotter.com/showpage.php?id=110771


Mishawaka, Indiana USA and Shiojiri, Japan.
Topic: Sister Ctiy Skype Test
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PiPgwEKP8A

Sister City Skype with Mayors



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