I honestly cannot take full credit for this idea because when I came on board in my current position as principal of a redesign high school, most of the teachers were already using Skype to communicate during the school day. They suggested that I install it too. I knew about Skype, but until this point in time, had no reason to use the software. Sounds kinds of funny, but to Skype, you have to have someone to Skype with.
I installed Skype on my school laptop and my personal laptop, and to be honest, the experiment has been great. We are finding all kinds of uses for Skype in carrying out our daily tasks. Here are just a few ways we are using it:
- Making announcements: Our school does not have an Intercom system, so making school-wide announcements is problematic. Instead, should any of us need to make announcements during the course of the day, we Skype them. To make sure we are all connected, the first thing we do in the morning is log into Skype so that we have that immediate connection. If someone needs to see a student, we send out a message over Skype, and whichever teacher has that student, responds and sends him or her to the requested location.
- On-going discussions: Obviously, my teachers are teaching, so I do not always expect immediate responses to discussion items sent out over Skype, but if there is a pressing issue, I can send it out, and when teachers get a free moment, they respond. On one particular occasion, I posted a dilemma on Skype, and the conversation took off and lasted all day, with teachers responding to the issue when the opportunity arose. We can by using Skype have important discussions about any aspect of our school when the need arises.
- Teachers Meetings: Sometimes there are occasions, especially during the summer, it is a bit problematic for the teaching staff to come to the school. In those cases, we will use Skype to discuss issues that arise when coming to the school is problematic.
- Interviews: Next week, I will be conducting my first interview for a staff position using Skype. This prevents me from asking a potential job candidate from having to travel to our school for an initial interview.
Undoubtedly, many others have found many more uses for Skype than those I have listed here. But it has amazed me how quickly this interactive tool has seamlessly blended into our daily routine. Using technology is all about the possibilities, and the possibilities are endless.