Will Skype's extended engagement in education result in more tech-loving and savvy teachers?

Although I have become increasingly frustrated with Skype over the past weeks due to all sorts of incompatibility issues with other users’ Skype versions, camera problems and painful recording experiences of Skype calls which led me to temporarily switch to another program, I have always been an advocate for the use of Skype in an educational context and I will continue to be.


My criticism aside, Skype along with UK based think tank The Education Foundation have just recently announced a new initiative with some exciting potential: The Learning Lab. According to The Education Foundation The Learning Lab, situated in the heart of London, is “a unique combination of an inspiring events and showcasing space for education leaders and businesses”, both in the UK and internationally, “a state of the art professional development centre” and “a classroom, laboratory and studio space”.

You might be familiar with the Skype in the Classroom project that launched about a year ago and based on the experiences made The Learning Lab can be seen as a logic continuation. The new partnership has the ambitious aim to get all groups of the normally rather scattered education space in one boat.

It addresses early childhood educators as well as teachers in the K12 space and leaders in Higher Education to get inspired and explore the possibilities to integrate Skype lessons in their teaching but also mentions to give businesses and providers of learning solutions the possibility to showcase their products. As Skype’s Tony Bates writes on the company blog at the launch event “guests had the opportunity to see the facility's fully-equipped, reconfigurable classroom, featuring practical examples of it in use from teachers, students and partner organizations”. 

The Education Foundation sees some additional use in offering workshops and roundtable discussion by and with policy makers and government officials. The future will show if this partnership has the potential to successfully merge the virtual Skype experience with the real world by allowing people in the education sector to learn from others and experience best practices as well as getting more knowledgeable about new products or services. If all works well we may see a bigger group of really tech-savvy teachers than we have now.

Big Think Edge
  • The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
  • Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
  • Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.

To boost your self-esteem, write about chapters of your life

If you're lacking confidence and feel like you could benefit from an ego boost, try writing your life story.

Personal Growth

In truth, so much of what happens to us in life is random – we are pawns at the mercy of Lady Luck. To take ownership of our experiences and exert a feeling of control over our future, we tell stories about ourselves that weave meaning and continuity into our personal identity.

Keep reading Show less

Active ingredient in Roundup found in 95% of studied beers and wines

The controversial herbicide is everywhere, apparently.

(MsMaria/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • U.S. PIRG tested 20 beers and wines, including organics, and found Roundup's active ingredient in almost all of them.
  • A jury on August 2018 awarded a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma victim $289 million in Roundup damages.
  • Bayer/Monsanto says Roundup is totally safe. Others disagree.
Keep reading Show less

Ashes of cat named Pikachu to be launched into space

A space memorial company plans to launch the ashes of "Pikachu," a well-loved Tabby, into space.

GoFundMe/Steve Munt
Culture & Religion
  • Steve Munt, Pikachu's owner, created a GoFundMe page to raise money for the mission.
  • If all goes according to plan, Pikachu will be the second cat to enter space, the first being a French feline named Felicette.
  • It might seem frivolous, but the cat-lovers commenting on Munt's GoFundMe page would likely disagree.
Keep reading Show less