Speaking of being with our families, today's post is about Skype, the online computer-to-anywhere phone and video connection...that is free...kind of. It is free to make computer-to-computer calls, which you can do with text, audio or video. Very similar to other instant messaging, chat, etc., programs. What sets Skype apart is that you can call someon's phone (charges depend on where you are calling, see Skype for the details). For example, a friend of mine is from Cancun, where his parents still live. He uses Skype to call their home telephone line. It costs just as much as using a phone card, but there are about 50 less numbers he has to dial, he can see how much time he has left before the 30 second warning sounds and, most importantly, the connection is better. Educationally, we are using Skype to connect with teachers around the world. At NETA last year, Alan November talked about a student's Ecuador project. Mentioning Skype and others, he talked about how much more meaningful that project would be if it was shared with someone in Ecuador, rather than someone in Scottsdale. It is a great tool that could be used for some very cool connections in your classroom. The world is shrinking and educators need to facilitate that.