A little over a year ago, Skype launched its Skype in the Classroom platform, which connects teachers and classrooms with guest speakers, online lessons, and other classrooms. Today, there are 14,000 members and 14 partner organizations, including NASA and Penguin Books. "We’ve seen this underground grassroots movement. We’ve seen people start to use technology [in the classroom], and we realized we should start to kick it into high-gear," says Tony Bates, the CEO of Skype.
Bates’s favorite Skype in the Classroom projects include the classroom that found a beekeeper to take them on a virtual tour (the teacher wanted to demonstrate a beehive metaphor to the kids) and the pair of teachers that used the platform to co-teach from across town. " The engagement level of the students went way up," he says. "In a video setting, people are more engaged. They know they’re being watched."