Will Skype eclipse fee-based videoconferencing?

Educators are abandoning professional video-conferencing software for the free, easy-to-use Skype
Educators are forgoing professional video conferencing software for the free, easy-to-use Skype.

With school budgets continuing to shrink, many educators are turning to free or inexpensive software such as Skype, along with the web cameras that now come standard on most laptop computers, to connect with other classes or colleagues online—forgoing traditional (and more expensive) video conferencing solutions.

Numerous educators said they have used Skype in one form or another for lesson planning or instruction, with most citing its cost (or lack thereof) and ease of use as the main reason for going with the software program.

Skype offers a range of free services, including the ability to make voice or video calls and send instant messages to other Skype users. Users also can pay for services such as making calls from a PC to a landline or cell phone.…Read More

Class in 140 characters or less?

Only 14 percent of college faculty said they saw educational value in social media such as Twitter.
Only 14 percent of college faculty said they saw educational value in social media such as Twitter.

There are more than 20 million college students in America, and more than 50 percent will not graduate. The No. 1 reason contributing to student dropout rates is a lack of engagement. The billion-dollar question for our education system is: How do we motivate and stimulate students to take a more proactive role in their academic success?

An obvious starting point might be the environments in which we know today’s students are currently engaged, all day, every day—social networks. To date, a significant chasm has existed between students’ interactive, stimulating experiences with social media and the reality of their “low-tech” classrooms.

Of course, there are exceptions, but on the whole, the education system isn’t yet capitalizing on the social networking and Web 2.0 tools that keep today’s digital natives motivated. It’s time to unleash that potential.…Read More