Social distancing has become a norm in the current world and most of the everyday activities have been moved to be executed virtually. While many organizations have or are on the verge of reopening, it is deemed fit for schools to remain closed for at least another few weeks. It is only safe and responsible until a better reopening strategy is come up with. But that doesn’t translate into putting education on hold. Online teaching and learning are going to be practiced on a far wider scale than it was before.
With the availability of a number of tools to conduct online classes, the complexity in managing and implementing these classes elevates. One solution that has been a pioneer in the video conferencing industry can be harnessed by teachers to conduct online classes with simplicity and ease, is Skype. Skype has been utilized by businesses, organizations, institutions, and individuals to meet online and share virtual resources, for a very long time. As of April 2020, Skype has 40 million daily active users, stated DMR. Skype allows users to chat, video call, voice call as well as share files and media among other features which the users can leverage and have a seamless experience.
Having said that, Skype can be used by teachers for online teaching and classes in order to keep learning aspects in motion amidst the lockdown and even after. It is a better way for teachers to keep their students caught up with the knowledge and ensure that they are not missing out on any of their education. It is more than just having a video call with the class and giving a theoretical lecture and should be optimally utilized. Let us look at the ways in which Skype can be used for online teaching
1. Share digital notes
Physical material is long outdated and digitization has taken over. Students nowadays do not write down the teachings in their or study from the printed textbooks, digital notes are majorly being shared and practiced. With classes being held on Skype, teachers can also share documents and media files to individual students or the entire class together, and equip them with learning material. These files can be saved by the students and referred to whenever needed, and they can also split-screen, keep the notes open in one tab, and attend the class on another.
2. Student Presentations
Equipping students with study material also calls for student presentations, but how is that possible on Skype? Whoever is supposed to present, can share their screen that has the presentation with the entire class as well as present using their microphones. These presentations can be enhanced with the use of the whiteboard extension which will allow the presenter to draw like they would on a physical blackboard.
3. Foreign Exchange sessions
The current climate doesn’t permit foreign exchange activities; hence students can have collaborative sessions with international schools and host students from other schools attend classes of your school. This exchange will ensure exposure to global practices and methodologies along with a sense of promoting one’s own country talent.
4. Explore Visits
There are a number of institutions that allow digital visits of classes from wherever in the world. For example, a class of kids based in the US can on a digital visit to an exhibition in Venice or Germany, explore the nook and corner, and have an unforgettable exemplary experience and exposure to knowledge across the world.
5. Cool off sessions
With concurrent classes and so many lectures, students are bound to feel burnout. Unlike schools, online classes do not have playgrounds or cafeterias to go and blow off some steam with classmates, hence teachers have to go the extra mile and conduct online cool off sessions on Skype so that the kids don’t feel saturated. This could include online band performances, games, acts, and club practices among many others depending on the creativity of the facilitators.
Skype can be used in multiple ways to impart online teachings and learnings which will prove beneficial for the students’ overall growth and development in academics by surpassing any barriers that might come with the imposition of certain regulations.