It is been a while since I took up teaching English online, and often people ask me about the software that I use for communication. While they think of some exotic software, my answer is quite a dull one: Google Drive and Skype.
Why Skype? Why I can't I use any other collaboration/online education software.
Why I give a thumbs up to Skype:
Its popularity: Everyone knows something about it. Skype is installed in many systems to get in touch with their relatives. So, it is not huge technical leap for them.
- Skype is intuitive. My borther's 5 year old son uses it to call me. Nothing more to be said on that.
- It stores chat text, so it is always easier to go back to what you have taught.
- It automatically reconnects after a break in the net connection.
- And the biggest advantage: Crystal clear voice. It is very important for teaching pronunciation and intonation.
Now the thumbs down:
- It gobbles up bandwidth. Even if you cut the video, which I use only for rare occasions, call dropping is quite frequent and often frustrating.
A serious alternative to Skype is VSee. The biggest USP of VSee is that that it requires far less bandwidth, and so it is much more dependable. I've been toying with it for sometime and it seems to be a good alternative to Skype, but it requires my students to install it. When I gave a choice between Skype and VSee, many of them stuck to Skype.
People kind of really hate change. Even if it is for the better.
Author: Jims Varkey
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