SKYPE and parent/teacher conferences? Is this a crazy idea?

Have you seen any research or interest in conducting parent/teacher conferences using SKYPE? I work for a non-profit who will soon launch mobile broadband solution to educational markets and I am identifying all possible use cases for our solution. There are several use cases for students (1:1 learning; distance learning; emergency notification) but I started to think about parent/teacher interaction. While I don’t believe that SKYPE would be the ideal format for p/t conferences, I think it might assist parents who are traveling for work and still want to attend the scheduled meeting.

Your thoughts?

Tags: conference, video

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I don't think it's crazy. In fact, I think it's somewhat brilliant. For my money, I'd use Elluminate's free vRoom (up to three participants) since it has audio, chat, and desktop sharing. (Disclaimer--I'm doing work for Elluminate.) There have been articles about admissions offices holding interviews via Skype. I think it's surely the wave of the future.
We have had several requests from parents at the school where I am teaching for such an option. I don't know if any of these requests have resulted in a Skype conference. Most of the requests involved parents whose workplace was out-of- town and were looking for a way to participate despite the distance. I would agree that it will be the wave of the future.
I agree with Steve, in that this form of conferencing is the 'wave of the future'. Skype is quite user friendly for first time or beginner users and my students have used skype to interview parents who work in a voluntary capacity as part of a research project. It means interviews can take place at a time suitable to be both parties, rather that a set parent/teacher interview day or time. We were involved in a project with our education department and the University of Melbourne was commissioned to conduct a survey re the results. On negotiating a suitable time, they were rather concerned that we were a 3 1/2 hour drive from them, so we met in elluminate online and the interview was conducted at a time that suited both of us This was a much cheaper and more convenient solution. They needed follow up so this was also conducted online and would not have taken place had they needed to travel long distances.
Your suggestion also actively involves parents (important stakeholders in education) in the very online tools that we work with in our students. It gives them practical insight into their potential and powerful learning outcomes.
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In NZ we have many overseas/ international students who come to us for schooling for several terms up to several years. They stay with 'host' families in New Zealand for the duration of their time here, and our contact with home has to go through these hosts, many of whom are only very loosely related to the child's family. As a result, they have a far lower commitment to the education of this child, focusing more on the student's physical wellbeing. My colleague who deals with these students has a goal to develop the use of skype in order to conference with the student's natural parents 'back home'. This is something which seems to make perfect sense- it is very exciting.



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