What is it?
Skype is a software that allows users to make telephone calls over the Internet. Calls to other users of the service and to free-of-charge numbers are free, while calls to other landlines and mobile phones can be made for a fee. Additional features include instant messaging, file transfer and video conferencing.
- Allows users to voice chat using a computer.
- Basic functions are free to use.
- Supports video chatting if your computer has a webcam.
Who uses it?
Skype is an excellent application for communicating with others across distances where video chat support is desired or when phone use would be prohibitively expensive. It is especially popular with faculty with videoconferencing needs or foreign language instructors who want their students to practice with native speakers in other countries.
How does it work?
Skype is operated in much the same way as a chat client such as AOL Instant Messenger or iChat, but primarily for voice and video chat instead of solely text. After downloading and installing Skype for free, you are prompted to create an account and add contacts to your contact list. Calls are made simply by selecting the contact you want to call and clicking on the green phone icon.
Things to consider before using Skype
- If your needs are simply for a basic chat program, iChat or AOL Instant Messenger might be better suited for your intended use.
- Make sure that you have a microphone with a computer-specific input (1/8″) or a built-in microphone on your computer.
- If you intend to video chat, ensure that you are familiar with your webcam (either external or built-in).
Uses as an Instructional Technology
- Conduct video conferences with colleagues for research.
- Have foreign language students communicate with native speakers in other countries.
Resources at Wooster
- Skype is free to download from the Skype website.
- Instructional Technology provides both training and support for the use of Skype.
- 7 things you should know about Skype