The week we review the tool
Last year, we wrote a Tech Tools for Teachers newsletter on using Skype in your classroom. You can find it here and you can also find the Edublogger’s complete guide to using Skype in your classroom here (highly recommended).
This week we look a handy free feature in Skype that allows you to share what is on your computer screen with the person you are skyping.
We like Skype Screen Sharing because:
- it is a free service
- it allows you to add a visual to your voice when you are skyping
- you can show your whole computer or just part of your display (NB. some versions only let you share your whole screen)
- it is simple to set up
- it works on Mac and Windows
- it allows students to problem solve and work collaboratively with others around the world
- it allows teachers to collaborate with other teachers or students anywhere, anytime.
How to use Skype Screen Sharing:
1. Make sure you have Skype installed on your computer: If you haven’t used Skype for a while, you might need to update to the latest version. Just go to “help” and “check for updates”. If you don’t have Skype on your computer, click here to install it for free. It is easy to install Skype as it just requires you to follow the prompts but if you need help, check out The Edublogger’s step-by-step guide here.
2. Call a contact: Skype Screen Sharing only works when you are making a video or voice call to someone. Click on your contact’s name and click on “call” or “video call”.
3. Start screen sharing: During your call, simply hover your mouse over the main window to show the Skype menu. Click the screen share icon to bring up your screen sharing options.
The icon may look different depending on your operating system.
4. Choose how you want to share your screen: The options are
- Show your current display/ Show entire screen (Windows) – this shows whatever you have on your screen (tip: close any tabs or documents you don’t want others to see).
- Share screen (Mac) – this shows whatever you have on your screen.
- Select window (Windows) – this lets you to choose which window you share. Open the window that you would like to share, make sure that it is highlighted in blue, then click “Show selected window” to start sharing. NB. To bring up this option you may have to click on “Show entire screen” and then click on the share icon again once you have started sharing your screen.
5. Talk and show: The person you are calling won’t be able to see you on video but you can talk while you navigate your computer. If you’re using video call, you can also see the person you’re talking to in a box on your screen.
6. Stop screen share: Simply click on “Stop Sharing” (Windows) or “Stop Screen Sharing” (Mac). This won’t end your call so you can resume your video or voice call.
Extra information: You can take it in turns to share your screen during a call but only one person can share their screen at a time. You can’t use the Screen Sharing function during group calls. It doesn’t matter if you have a different operating system to the person you are sharing your screen with (ie. Windows, Mac or Linux).
How teachers and students can use Skype Screen Sharing:
- Formal and information professional development: Last week I presented an informal PD on blogging for staff at another school via Skype. I used Skype Screen Sharing to demonstrate aspects of my blog and show various visuals. Read about it here.
- What’s wrong with my computer? It is always difficult to help others with their computer problems when you can’t see what is happening. Skype Screen Sharing lets teachers and students help each other troubleshoot and instruct.
- Global collaboration: Skype lets you flatten your classroom walls and the Screen Sharing function allows students to work on projects together in real time.
- Peer tutoring: students from the same school or anywhere in the world can teach each other. Check out this fabulous example on Aviva Dunsiger’s blog. She had Year 7 students show her Grade 1/2 students how to use Prezi using Skype Screen Sharing.
- Virtual classroom: Older students who are studying needn’t come in to school to ask their teacher questions. With Skype Screen Sharing they could skype their teacher and get instruction virtually.
- Show photos and student work: My class loves to skype with their blogging buggies around the world. During Skype calls like this one, we showed our friends photos and other work by holding them up to the webcam. With Skype Screen sharing, we could show them straight from our computer.
How else could Skype Screen Sharing be used in the classroom? Leave a comment!
Look out for the next edition of Tech Tools for Teachers in two weeks.
Simon, Kathleen and Matt