Does Skype really have a downside?

So upon discussion with Nicole Climenhaga, from my ECMP 355 class, we decided to compile a list of pros and cons associated with the use of Skype in the classroom. We were both hoping to get a big more creative than that, however due to circumstantial reasons (did I even use that in context properly? Oh well) *cough* other University classes *cough* we quickly ran out of time and ideas to make it any more interesting than the following table.

The lovely pros vs cons list Nicole and I created.

The lovely pros vs cons list Nicole and I created.

I also thought of a few other negatives after Nicole made the table, and I have no idea how she did it or how to edit it.

  • Students may get distracted by other conversations on Skype, if it is being used individually.
  • It opens up one other way for cyber-bullying to occur, with the teacher being unable to monitor how each student is communicating with each other.
  • There are sometimes spammers who add random people on Skype, claiming to know them. Students would need to understand not to add strangers or to give out important information.

 

 

Much of the information was found here, though I found many of the reasons included to be fairly repetitive – they said the same sort of thing, but used it in different context. While, according to the look of the table the negative side looks a bit longer, they are a lot less worrisome than the positive column is beneficial. There are a few concerns of whether or not the users of Skype will have access to internet, though being used in a classroom there should be a guaranteed connection for the teachers, and the hardware required to have a successful call (ie. webcam and microphone). Though there are a few others mentioned on the list I would not consider them to be a high-concern issue, whereas on the positive side of the table it has more beneficial aspects. Aside from the typical voice and video calls that are able to be made, there is also the option to send files and video or audio messages to a specific contact or group conversation. Also, Skype gives the teachers the ability to collaborate between each other, with the student’s parent(s), or even with the students themselves. Even just these few benefits greatly outweigh the disadvantages to using Skype in a classroom.

If anyone knows of or finds any glaring disadvantages (or other advantages as well) to using Skype in a school setting please let either Nicole or I know. We would love to hear everyone’s personal take on other advantages or disadvantages.

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