Using Skype for Communication? Why Not for Language Learning?
This tutorial introduces participants to Skype which was founded in 2003 by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis. Skype enables easy and fun communication with people around the world for free. It is available in 28 languages and is used in almost every country around the world. Through Skype people can make and receive calls to and from landline and mobile phones, as well as online. Educators can use Skype to match their students with students in different countries and help them practice their language skills. For example, if they know Spanish, you can search for and speak with a native speaker of Spanish and in return you can teach English. Skype’s features allow communication not only through speaking but also, writing. This way, students can practice their listening, speaking, writing and reading skills while seeing their communication partner through video camera which brings authenticity and motivation to learning process. With the tools it offers, its collaborative nature and free access Skype will play a key role in the future of foreign-language programs.
The objective of this tutorial is to introduce Skype to educators not only as a free communication tool but also as a free language learning tool. Through demonstrating procedures step by step, at the end of the tutorial, participants will have information about what Skype is, its features, reasons for using it for language learning, how to install and use it, and where to find people to exchange language learning experiences.
Keywords: Skype, Language Learning, ESL, EFL, Speaking, Writing
Ph.D. Student, Supervisor at Practicum Office, Curriculum and Instruction, Boston College