Thursday, August 7, 2008

Skype Tutorials for Teachers, Authors, Librarians

The Annick LIVEbrary received a nod from high school librarian and author, Carolyn Foote, in an article about "Skype in the Classroom" in School Library Journal. Thanks, Carolyn!

As part of our continuing summer cleaning, I've been reviewing online tutorials on how to use Skype. All LIVEbrary authors have been trained to use Skype to deliver online classroom visits.

To use Skype well, you have to know at the minimum how to set your preferences -- particularly your privacy preferences. Skype comes with security issues that are important for school systems and library systems to understand before they go wild installing Skype.

My sister is a branch librarian for a large public library system. She Skyped me one day to inform me she had gotten all the library staff on Skype to facilitate branch-to-branch communications. I asked her if she was aware of the security issues related to Skype and whether she had toggled her privacy preferences to prevent communications from people who are not in her address book.

My sister reevaluated the library's teleconferencing solution and ended up going with ooVoo. ooVoo, discussed in several other posts here at the LIVEbrary, has the same security issues as Skype. But ooVoo also has the ability to handle up to five video connections simultaneously. This time, my sister tweaked her privacy settings in ooVoo and assisted the other librarians in tightening their privacy settings, too. The tutorials, below, will help you do the same in Skype.

Skype offers the promise of closed-access conferencing that is secure for students, schools, and libraries -- but you have to be savvy about how you set it up. If children or library patrons are using the system, you need to investigate ways to lock strangers out of teleconferences. Teachers and librarians -- please email me if you have questions about your Skype privacy settings.

Producer of The Annick LIVEbrary

Last Revised: July 14, 2008

Video Tutorials:

Skype for PC Tutorials:
Skype tutorials are free. 10 total, 5-10 min. each

* Digital Landing
Skype on a PC Tutorial

Text-Based Tutorials:

* North Canton City School
Technology Tutorials (free text tutorials in Word and Adobe Acrobat)

* Vitamin: A Web Developer Magazine
How to Podcast with Skype (article)
Description: Good (if dated -- June 2006) article by Josh Owens on how to make podcasts with Skype. Involves installing third-party software for recording. Not an introductory piece.

From Skype:

* Guides to Using Skype

* FAQs

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