Using Skype for Teaching in Virtual Classrooms

The classroom has continuously experienced advances in the fields of computers and technology for decades. These technological advancements have even reached the education field, with numerous virtual classrooms emerging left and right. You no longer need to be physically present at the classroom in order to learn anything and everything under the sun. You can complete ordinary courses as well as university courses by using Skype, a computer software application that allows for voice chat, text chat and video chat between users in a global scale.

Using Skype to teach in a virtual classroom is very easy. This is due to the fact that this software has been developed in order to be as user-friendly as possible. Both old folks and young ones alike will be able to use it with ease. If you want to learn from a virtual classroom somewhere in South Africa then this is the perfect tool for you to use. The good part here is that more and more schools and universities in South Africa will credit all of the units and hours that you spend in a virtual classroom, allowing you to save on the travel time to and from the school.

Skype is now considered the teaching technology of the future. Children and adults alike will no longer be required to personally attend classes in the near future in order to save on the expenses. Skype is the first step through the numerous innovations to come in the near future since experts say that it will be around for a long time. Earning general education, further education and higher education in South Africa will no longer be a problem with the help of this powerful communication software tool. Use skype for anything and everything related to video communication, calls, text chat or voice chat in order to learn, study and absorb the teaching of your virtual teachers and professors alike.

Skype in the classroom is a newly developed feature of Skype that allows teachers, professors and educators alike to collaborate with each other during class hours. These educators can easily stay in touch with each other using the Skype application, allowing for a more interactive discussion not only between themselves but also between their respective classes as well. Typical examples that this feature provides is that it allows for global languages, joint projects and guest lectures by professors and their colleagues in South Africa and other parts of the world.

Currently, there are more than 7,000 users of this collaboration feature provided by Skype. In a recent exchange of information regarding earthquakes, a U.S. based classroom and a Chilean based classroom interactively exchanged pieces of data and information regarding earthquake safety tips and things to avoid during an earthquake. All of such information exchange is through the use Skype perspective. The best part here is that you will be able to earn all of the required certifications, graduate’s degree, master’s degree or even doctor’s degree in any Skype based university situated in any part of the world with the help of this powerful communicating tool.


How to Use Skype for Mobile and Smart Phones

Skype is a VOIP or voice over internet protocol software that supersedes the cellphone networks. It allows people to communicate over long distances instead of using mobile phones and using airtime. It provides services similar to telecommunication providers except that it uses the internet as its primary mode of communication both for text chat and voice chat.

As long as you have on your smart phone and use one of the recommended mobile data packages or then you will be able to make calls that you normally cannot make when using the services of your local telecommunication companies. You can even make complete free Skype-to-Skype calls when you are using wifi networks in the South Africa or elsewhere.

Skype mobile is a new feature developed by the makers of Skype in order to make phones such as Android phones, Blackberry phones together with iPhone and iPad units compatible with the Skype software application. In order to know more about this brilliant new feature, it is necessary to discuss it per phone.

Skype for android is an application made especially for the Android platform. It is compatible with both Wi-Fi connection and 3G connection, allowing you to make large scale calls via both connections. You can easily connect to other android phone users by using the Wi-Fi connection of the local mall or store situated in your area. You can also make full use of the 3G services being provided by Vodacom, Cell C or MTN if you are located in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth or Pretoria. All there is to it is to install the android based Skype in order to get started.

Blackberry is another mobile phone type that is being widely used in a global scale today. Whether you are situated in Cape Town, Durban or any other major city in South Africa, you will surely be able to see people using blackberry phones. This prompted Skype to develop Skype for Blackberry, an application that is perfect for the blackberry phone with models 2009 and up. This version of Skype allows Blackberry phone users to freely use the Skype application similar to any other Blackberry based application being widely used today.

Skype is also available for the iPhone and iPad. For iPhones, it is already compatible with the first releases as long as the iPhone is 3G compatible. You can also opt to go for the newly released iPhone 4 in order to use the much faster 4G connection for easier calls worldwide. You can also use Skype for iPad. Depending on your accessories you can use either or both text chat and voice chat with this powerful tablet pc or personal computer from the Apple Mac brand.

Whether you have the Skype for Android or Skype for Blackberry or Skype mobile, you will surely be able to make full use of the Skype application wherever you are, whenever you want to. As long as you have a good internet connection then you can easily download and install Skype for any compatible device. You can also buy credits using your mobile or internet plan or via your debit or credit card, whichever you prefer. The best part here is that the credits will already reflect on your Skype balance in as fast as 10 minutes!


Using Skype in South Africa To Save Money

Skype is a very useful software application that has been developed for VOIP calls or voice over internet protocol calls. You will be able to reach any person anywhere in the world as long as you have the needed requirements. Such requirements include but are not limited to:
Ramon Thomas Skype Status

  • A personal computer, laptop computer, netbook computer, tablet pc or any other device that is compatible with Skype. Preferably it has the latest specs.
  • A compatible internet phone or headset that you can use for making calls and dialling mobile numbers.
  • An active and strong internet connection that will allow you to stay in touch for long periods of time.
  • The latest Skype software application installed in your computer or Skype compatible device. You can even use Skype with the latest models of mobile phones.

You need to buy Skype credits in order to make some calls in South Africa. This is due to numerous factors including the charges attributed by the peer to peer connection established using Skype and any third party telecommunications company in South Africa. The best part here is that Skype is cheaper and more affordable when comparing the rates with South Africa’s leading telecommunication companies such as Telkom, Vodacom and MTN. With Skype, you will be able to make unlimited calls for as long as you pay around R50 up to R350 depending on your location and the Internet Service Provider that you are using.

If you are living in South Africa, then Skype is the perfect application for you to use in order to stay in touch with your love ones. There are numerous questions that plague Skype users in this continent and the most popular one is:

“Where can I buy Skype Credits?”

There are multiple methods in buying Skype Credits in South Africa and these are:

  • Skype credits can be easily bought via the official website of Skype. You can also buy these credits when you log-on to your Skype account using the latest Skype software application that you have downloaded. All there is to it is a debit or credit card that you can use in order to pay for the credits in order to get started. Around 3 minutes up to 5 minutes is needed and you can complete your credit purchase and such amount will reflect on your Skype credit balance.
  • Skype Credits can also be bought with the use of PayPal. This is due to the fact that PayPal is an international mode of payment used by Skype all over the world and since FNB, a major player in the South African banking industry, has already made a strong partnership with PayPal. As such, all there is to it is for you to open your very own PayPal account in order to get started. You can also use a debit card, credit card or cash card in order to enlarge your PayPal limit in order to purchase larger bulks of Skype credits. Buying Skype Credits has never been this easy like ever before.

Report On Cellular Payment Systems In South Africa

This report is republished with permission from the author, Reuel Leach. You may contact him for more advise on saving money when using cellphones and Internet access on his cell 082 211 2619

Do you know what you are paying on your cellular bill every month. Maybe you do, but have you ever wondered what the networks costs are? Would you like to see something published on this subject? Read on. Its time that people started to get answers to these questions.

Lets start off with GSM. It’s a radio signal just like any radio frequency. You have a radio? You have a television, you pay a licence which is a minimum cost to get messages ( or Signals with information) to your home, office or car. With a radio frequency you choose which signal you want to pick up the messages you want to listen to or “watch”.

So what frequencies are there? Here are but a few common ones:

1.Short wave
2.Medium Wave
3.Frequency Modulation (FM)
4.Wi-Fi (Wireless)
9.UMTS (3G) which consists of data for internet and 3G video calls

Lets focus now on the formats of some of these signals. What do I mean by that? Well, you listen to a CD with music of your favourite artist and its recorded in WAV format. You might be familiar to the more common format used called MP3. Now lets make a comparison with these two formats. WAV will give you 700 megabytes over 80 minutes and MP3 gives you about 70 MB ( megabytes ) over 80 minutes. When you record something with your cellphone, you might use AAC or a similar format which might give you around 2-4 megabytes an hour.

The format of GSM is AMR, it could be similar to AAC, but this is where the interesting part comes. Lets look at the speed of these frequencies. These are true speed real life situations, not what they tell you at the shops

True Speed example in South Africa

  • GSM – 6 to 13 kilobits per second
  • GPRS 1 to 6 kilobits per second
  • EDGE 6 to 25 kilobits per second
  • UMTS 30 to 120 kilobits per second
  • HSDPA 50 to 200 kilobits per second

But if you tried to do a voice call over GPRS or EDGE you might find it a bit choppy. Ok here is the first big issue. A voice call can be easily done one EDGE using Skype or MSN and the maximum you will use is around 2.5 MB an hour. At the current data rates an unbundled GPRS? EDGE? 3G connection will cost you R2/MB which is the most expensive DATA rate. If you use a data bundle you will go as low as R0.19/MB so an hours call on Skype voice to voice will cost you in the region of R0.46 and R5 an HOUR! But if you use your normal Cellular phone for the same time, it will cost you R90 to R180 an Hour! So lets compare R0.46 to R180 an hour which most people are paying. Are you going to do something about this….

You should resort to these forms of technology:

  1. Skype
  2. Google Talk
  3. Mxit
  4. Nimbuzz

Heres the real shocker! Do you know what the most expensive form of communication in the world is. And it probably in South Africa. Its called SMS. Yes you thought it was cheaper than a call. Think again. Here is the simple price plan comparison

Let me explain this bit by bit. 1 sms is 160 characters. That includes the spaces in between. I you type an A4 page there is place for approximately 3680 characters with a font of 10 on it. Divide 3680 into 160 and that gives ou 23 sms messages. If you pay the normal day time rate it will cost you at 85 cents R19.55 PER PAGE and after hours at 35 cents an sms it costs you R8.05 so its far more than a page.

Let compare this to Skype or mxit this one page will be only 27 Kilobytes and at R2 per megabye it will cost you R0.05 cents per page and if you are using a data bundle then it will be as low as R0.005 per page!

Ok so what does an SMS cost us per Kilobyte?
1 sms = 140 bytes = 7.3142 sms = 1kb
85 cents x 7.3 = R6.21/kb

What does an SMS cost us per Megabyte?
1024 x R6.21 = R6359/mb
(normal data costs between R0.19 to R2.00 per megabyte)

What does an SMS cost us per Gigabyte
1024 x R6359 = R6 511 656 per GIGABYTE

So if you were to write or type a 2 page letter and put it in an envelope it will cost you around R2.50 to R3.00 depending on paper and stamp costs. If you had to type the equivalent in SMSs you will pay for a 2 page letter:- R39.10 so its R40 to send a letter.

No why are the networks so expensive. If technology has become so cheap, why have they not given us the GPRS SMS function which almost every cellular phone has the function of? It will cost us a few cents only. If you connect your cellular phone to a PC or had Skype capabilities you could do a full skype call on 3G or HSDPA signal for between R0.39 and R5 per hour or a video call at R2.34 and R24 per hour!

If you had to send someone a full WAV cd over the internet at R0.19 per megabyte it will cost you 700 x R0.19 which is R133.00 and that’s 80minutes of music. If you spoke at the average cellular call of R2.50 (hidden costs excluded) at 80 minutes you will pay R200 for the call. Your bit rate for the wave 8MB per minute and your cellular call is 0.360mb per minute! So the intensity and quality is much better!

I suggest that people all cut off their smss, get Mxit and Skype and call over those mediums to make calls and send messages until the networks in the future.

I reckon that Wou-daar-Kom and Empty-N don’t pay more than R0.39 to R0.40 per hour for your call!
If they are paying more than that they should discontinue this old technology and give us the better faster stuff I mentioned above!

You may download the original report with graphics using this link: Report on Cellular Pricing Reuel Leach.


Khaya Dlanga does The Skype Dance

Khaya Dlanga is South Africa’s top video blogger with over 10,000 subscribers to his Youtube channel. His most recent video is a hilarious little dance move he calls the Skype Dance. If you want to know more about Skype, download it otherwise if you want to learn more read this beginners guide for South Africans.


How to use Skype in the classroom

Here’s an excellent video tutorial from a teacher in America on how to install, configure Skype and use it. The cool cat teacher demonstrates how she sets up and uses skype in her classroom. This is a good video for beginners and for teachers using it in the classroom. It is about 11 minutes and you can download it from here.


Using Skype credit to make calls to landlines or cellphones vs Telkom

About two years ago I received a call from a colleague of mine who was also a non-executive director on the ICDL Foundation in Cape Town. It was strange because I would have assumed calling me from his cellphone would be reasonable priced. For the longest time I’ve had the default belief that landline to landline, cellphone to cellphone and of course Skype to Skype is the best/cheapest way of making calls.

After posting this introductory post about Skype I received several questions about using Skype Credit and Skype Phones in South Africa. This post outlines the answers to those questions and more. Keep posting your questions if you have even more specific questions about Skype.

Continue reading “Using Skype credit to make calls to landlines or cellphones vs Telkom”


How to use Skype and make VOIP calls for beginners in South Africa

My statusSkype allows users to make telephone calls from their computer to other Skype users free of charge, or to landlines and cell phones for a fee.

Unlike most other VOIP (Voice-over-Internet) software, Skype uses a peer-to-peer model, which is the most efficient way for transferring large amounts of data over the Internet, in a distributed method. An d so when a Skype user calls another for a voice call or video conference there no extra costs. Additional features include instant messaging, file transfer, SMS, video conferencing and its ability to circumvent firewalls.

Niklas Zennstrom Janus Friis Skype foundersEntrepreneurs Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis created Skype in 2002 with a vision of liberating consumers and businesses from the need to pay for talking to each other across the globe.

It’s easy because the user interface is intuitive i.e. easy to navigate and operates like a normal phone just on a computer screen.Skype is free to download and use from – you only pay if you want to call landlines and cellphones. You have to purchase Skype credits to make calls to landlines and cellphones. View this detailed comparison on Hellkom.

Continue reading “How to use Skype and make VOIP calls for beginners in South Africa”


Taalgenoot interview on the impact of Technololgy on Human Relationships

online dating1. How does communication technology change the interaction of people (for example: from as young as 11 years children start to MXit and spend as much as 3 hours per day in their own virtual world.. But on Facebook long lost friends can keep in contact. Kindly give positive and negative comment)

Technology allows people to stay in touch with friends or family in remote places that could be very difficult or expensive otherwise. One of the first stories I discovered about MXit, was that of a grandmother in South Africa who was communicating with her grandsons in the UK. She was using MXit, and they were using MSN Messenger on a PC. Skype also allows people to make free voice calls over the Internet at no cost to anyone in the world using Skype.

The problem with technology as a communication medium is that increasingly people do not take responsibility for their actions. So for example people are cancelling appointments or meetings using SMS. Teenagers and adults are breaking up relationships and asking for a divorce using SMS. So technology allows people to avoid any negative reaction from other people. And the really bad part of this behaviour is that you never get to learn, through feedback, a valuable lesson in human relationships.

2. What can parents do to keep tabs on their children’s technology use (such as MXit and Facebook)

With MXit parents can install it on their own phones and add their children as a contacts. This way they can see when their children go online and when they go offline. Be warned that many children will refuse or delete their parents as a contact. When they delete your contact, after accepting you. You will see them as offline all the time, which defeats the purpose of monitoring them. If you have a good relationship with your children this will work.

With Facebook, simply register with Facebook, and search for their profiles. Again be warned you cannot see their profile unless they have accepted you as a Facebook friend. And most teenagers will not do this because it’s just not cool. If you have an open relationship ask them to show you how Facebook works, including a detailed explanation of their profiles.

3. What does communication technology do to the one to one and group communication skills of teens and young people. (eg. to introverts MXit is a way to express themselves but they lack the ability to build relationships etc.)

It can both increase their social contact and decrease their social skills. On MXit, the chat rooms are anonymous because people use nicknames. You may be able to say something in a chat room you could never say in person. So you never learn how to be assertive. And if you are already shy you may after a lot of time practising improve your ability to communicate. The challenge is that when you communicate online, either MXit, or Facebook, you cannot read body language or voice tone, and this reduces the amount of information you have available. So it’s a short term solution for a introverted child to use technology to communicate with people. They should, with help from their parents and teachers, learn how to communicate face to face. Debating clubs and public speaking classes is very good for this

4. Does technology changes the psyche? (Do people become more directed towards technology than their fellow-men?)

There is a growing amount of research that proves that multitasking is a myth. Also with technology many people are learning how to intelligently avoid real work in companies. When people in an office is surfing the Web (including Facebook) it can seem like they are working and yet they are not doing anything work related at all. It’s likely that South Africa is loosing hundreds of millions of Rand due to unproductive employees. And the responsibility lies with the companies to educate their employees on good online etiquette. More specifically I’m becoming very pessimistic about the impact of technology because so much of it is a form of escapism from reality: everything from playstations, to chat room, or online social networks. Nothing beats the real thing!

5. How do you personally use communication technology (Facebook) and how much time do you spend on it

I use or at least try out all new technology as it emerges. I am also a regular blogger and contribute to many online forums. The most important technology for me is email, cellphones and Skype. My primary focus is using technology to communicate with large numbers of people in a personalised way. What I mean is I can use a bulk email software to email 1,000 people using their first name like “Hi Karen” and this gets a much higher response rate. In terms of time I spend to much time using the Internet because its at the core of my business. I spend about 8-10 hours online 6 days a week. I also switch my cellphone off after 8pm and have been working toward ONE Technology FREE day per week, usually Saturdays.

6. Which communication technology is used the most by the different generations?

  • Preteens and teens – MXit and other instant messaging platforms
  • 20 and 30 year olds – Facebook and email, yes
  • 40 – 60 year olds – Cellphone and email, yes

African Bloggers monthly SkypeCAST for August 2007

This month we discussed the importance of Social networking profiles and how to link it with your blog. For the last few months since TEDGlobal myself and Henry Addo, a blogger from Ghana, has been having regular discussion via Skype on Blogging. Currently Skype allows maximum of 9 people on a Conference Call and in the future we will move to the SkypeCAST platform to reach more people. This month Andriankoto Ratoza also joined us for the monthly session.

This month we discussed the following:

  1. We started off discussing LinkedIn as the premier business to business social networking tool. When you follow all the instructions in this ebook on LinkedIn you start to derive real tangible benefits. For your blog you can also add a link from your LinkedIn profile to your website and your blog. This starts to drive traffic from a premium source back to your blog.
  2. How to import your Blog’s RSS feed into your Facebook profile. The benefit and importance of this is that you can reach a new audience who may not otherwise be exposed to reading your blog. Certainly in South Africa with the explosive growth of Facebook this is crucial to marketing your blog. For your Facebook profile this keeps new content coming through which reduces the burden to keep updating it.
  3. We also touched briefly on setting up a MySpace profile, creating a customised URL and re-posting some blog content onto your MySpace blog to again reach a wider and new audience.

These session are open to African Bloggers so please join the Google Group to be notified of future conference calls. This is one of the examples of how the Cheetahs from are working together to create a better future for Africa.