Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Skype Headsets, Pamela, WeeMees & Videoconferencing

Skype is continuing to become more mainstream: adding more features and users and getting more attention in the news.

In November, Skype announced it would begin selling headsets compatible with its VOIP network at Radio Shack this holiday season. I am not getting rid of our home landline yet, but if we can have landline access to Skype as a backup to our cell phones, this may make this move at last viable for us personally.

Skype now offers the “Pamela Professional Version” in either a freeware version or a one-time-fee version. According to the Pamela-Systems website:

Pamela is your own personal assistant for Skype. Pamela is a Skype certified plug-in or add-on software suite that runs alongside Skype to enhance Skype with functions that make using Skype even more fun and effective.

Pamela can answer the phone for you, automatically record 2-way conversations that can be used as podcasts or in other ways, email forward voice messages to you, and more.

And in the spirit of the “web 2.0” collaborative, personalized environment in which we live, Skype offers a free service to “Create your own WeeMee.” According to the site:

WeeMees are characters that represent you. They can share your passion for extreme sports, cutting-edge technology, punk hairstyles or exotic pets. It’s fun and easy to create your own WeeMee for Skype.

And, to cap it off, Windows users of Skype can now help beta test Skype 2.0 which includes support for videoconferencing.

Teachers and students need to be using Skype THIS YEAR to connect to other learners across town and across the globe. ePals is a great website to use to connect safely with other classrooms. We have got to prepare students to communicate and collaborate in the 21st Century, and Skype is a great free technology to use in support of this goal.

For more on this, refer to my resent article “Skype in the Classroom.”

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