February, 2008 Volume 8, Issue 8

Skype No Hype: http://www.skype.com

I have discussed Skype in an earlier issue. I have now used Skype for different purposes over the last few months, and, with exception of some voice interference while working with someone in Thailand (my 6PM, their 8 AM), I have found the tool to be highly educational and cost effective! It is not the only tool of its kind (Google, for example, has a free "phone" service.), but it  is the most popular and thus, the one providing the greatest access to end users.



Personal/Professional Use

  1. Instead of paying long distance anywhere in the US or Canada, use Skype for free to access other Skype users (SU) anywhere in the world. Pay $36 a year, and access anyone, SU or not. Call them through their computer (SU) or on their land or mobile lines. If you are not calling a SU, check the international rates at http://www.skype.com/prices/callrates/ for unbelievable fees (free to SU of course.) I had a call from SU friends in Brazil. There were three of us online in three different locations; we talked for over one hour at no cost! You can also sign up for a local number in different countries and call people for free. Check that out at http://share.skype.com/sites/en/2008/01/to_go_further_make_internation.html.
  2. When you are invited to participate in a Web conference that requires you to pay for the long-distance call, use Skype instead. In fact, set up a conference call yourself with any number of folks. Talk about cheap if not free!
  3. Live chat is another feature you may use. If the person isn't there, leave them a note under the chat feature!

Educational Uses - This is where I get excited.

  1. If you live in a rural area, such as The Four Corners, use all of the features above to stay in touch with your students. You no longer need to travel or spend money calling them. Leave them notes in the chat, give them a ring to stay connected,  and have them contract to do the same with you. There are also few better ways to practice speaking skills at a distance in ESL!
  2. As an AEFLA program, if you want to "teach" people something at a distance that would be enhanced by using the computer, send me an email with the date, and I'll set up a free meeting for you with Go to Meeting. Your students can see your computer, you can see theirs, and you can exchange visual information of all types, including the Internet. Use Skype to connect by phone in the process! Let's set up our own free training to have you experience the tool.
  3. Finally but not "leastly," Skype supports free video conferencing. Go out and buy yourself an inexpensive little computer camera (web cam), anywhere from $10 to $75 if you search online. Office supply and electronics stores, or electronic departments in departments stores have them, too.  Have your student get one, too. Call the student on Skype and look each other in the eyes as you use all of the other features we discussed. You no longer need six figures to set up video-conferencing. You can do it under $50!

What You Need

  1. A few minutes to examine the resources Skype or others offer - If I can help, contact me at leecy@fone.net or 970-562-4418.
  2. A free download of Skype, which opens all of the features onto your computer.
  3. A computer camera - I use a little Logitech that straddles the top of my laptop. Check a few out at http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/webcam_communications/webcams/&cl=us,en.  Skype itself has a store that sells compatible cameras. Click on the SHOP link on their home page.
  4. A headset - I can hear and be heard well just using my laptop's mike and speaker systems. However, if you work in an office, a headset gives you privacy. Look for a headset where they also sell web cams. They are readily available. I use a Logitech headset, as in the image.

Learning Segments

Monday, February 4th, will launch the Study Skills Learning Segment. To join the segment, go to http://moodle.fourcornerslearning.org/. You will see a Login box. That is where you will enroll. Just enter your information and get started! I'll be there waiting for you. As always, these segments are free, easy to access, and a lot of fun. You have a week to complete a minimum of three hours of activities at your own place and time. Don't put it off. You deserve the experience! Every two segments completed award five PD points. Completion of all six awards 1 graduate credit from Adams State.

You will find other schedules and instructions for Learning Segments at http://www.coloradoadulted.org/LES/LESResources.htm.

Video Help - No reading required!

We all want to build self-confidence, n'est pas? Check the videos listed below in light of the following reflection questions for students.

  1. What makes ........ excel in different areas?

  2. Is/Are ....... better than .... because....... has/have excelled in a skill?

  3. Considering that all of our cells act basically the same way (first video), what makes us different? What makes us the same?

  • Have students interested in science?

http://www.flixxy.com/biology-nano-visualization-cell-life.htm - An animation produced by Harvard University as a tool to enhance the performance of its students in biology.  Shows the life in a cell. Fascinating, especially for students who lean toward science!

  • How many of your students are interested in cars. Hmmmm.. Just a rough guess.. All?

http://www.flixxy.com/hyundai-driving-skills.htm - I've never seen driving skills like these, and think of all of the math (velocity, friction) and writing lessons we could build around this video!

http://www.flixxy.com/worlds-cheapest-car-tata-nano.htm - What might make this car so cheap? Do the math!

  • Have students interested in horses? Here's a jaw-dropping performance.

http://www.flixxy.com/world-equestrian-games-freestyle-dressage.htm - The dancing horse.  Are horses' brains similar to humans? How do they learn?

  • How do vocal chords produce sound? How do they develop? What is behind a good singing voice? Check this one out!

http://www.flixxy.com/bianca-ryan.htm - An eleven-year old blows them away! What gives her the power and the accuracy? How might she be physically different from other kids? Oh, the writing and research possibilities!

http://www.e-colorado.org - Dont' Keep It a Secret

Our http://www.coloradoadulted.org site was created to offer content to e-colorado.org, but both sites may still remain a secret to many. Please check them out. If you go to http://www.e-colorado.org/, click on Education and Training -> Adult Basic Education and Training -> LearningLine. When you open LearningLine, feast on the offerings. The site has sound links that allow you to easily navigate the resources for ABE (even ESL) students. Be sure to click on Activities, and go from there. Looking for easy ways to get students online when they have limited computer and reading skills? There you go! Another resource to enjoy.

Questions from the Field
Waiting for your to ask!

You haven't challenged me since the last issue, so I'll go back to the December question about teaching computer skills. This is a most intriguing and welcome site, and it's free!

http://inpics.net/ - "In Pictures online tutorials are based on pictures, not words. They're the easiest way to learn computer subjects. There's no complicated multimedia, just pictures that show exactly what to do."

Rendezvous 2008 Is Around the Corner!

Get your registration in now to attend RENDEZVOUS 2008 - Sharing Success: Adult Learners in transition. Support your Colorado Adult Education Professional Association (CAEPA) and get your money's worth and more.


For more information and online registration forms, go to http://www.caepa.org/. See you there!

Think Again

A.  What word, expression, or name is depicted in the letters below? I know you'll get it without peeking! (Click on the link at the bottom to get the answer.)

B. What word, expression, or name is depicted in the image below?

Click Here for Answers

CONTACT ME: leecy@coloradoadulted.org