Thursday, December 07, 2006

Interest in the educationl use of Skype has come to Cefn Fforest. Following a conversation with Joe Dale, and participating in a skype conference last Sunday evening, I had a follow-up conversation with Stephen Manning from the Times Educational Supplement Magazine.
Our discussion was wide ranging covering issues such as the 'open access' to Skype debate that is currently raging in the US, where some university campuses have banned or blocked the use of Skype. My view is that looking from Key Stages 1 and 2 in the UK access has to be controlled, as we are responsible for who our pupils speak/chat with.
Our use of Skype is that we have pre-arranged as much as possible when we will be available for pupils to contact us - our ultimate goal is to have pupil to pupil chat ( we have planned to do this next Wednesday evening when our school will be opened for pupils to come back into class at 8pm - 9am in New Zealand for pupils to speak to each other directly).
Another point of discussion was cost, obviously Skype computer to computer is free ( I like free), hence there isn't a budget implication to the se of Skype used in that way.
The use of Skype more widely between institutions will hopefully give a boost to childrens Speaking and Listening, in addition to the aspects of PSHE and Citizenship which come from talking to people who live in other countries, it also gives a greater opportunity for pupils to ask more pertinent questions of guests and 'visitors' to the school.

Following the discussion Stephen seemed to think that this should be published quite quickly and has arranged for a photographer to visit our school tomorrow (Friday 8th December) to take some photographs of the pupils Skyping our teaching colleague in New Zealand... watch this space...

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