StudentsWell, first of all I have to say I love Skype. This is how we keep in contact with Grandma and a friend of mine who lives in Sweden. Never imagined incorporating it into my classroom though! I love that they have a classroom version and ideas for teachers to think about how to use this technology in their classroom. What a perfect idea with the growing emphasis on communication in the common core standards. Unfortunately, there are a few things I am already for sure that will get in my way A) my district and their powerful ability to block useful sites and B) issues of their child being on "camera." There are for sure some solutions to these problems, it will just take time.
There was also the Flat Stanley site, which is what I used to inspire my lesson plan on collaborative technology. Students would exchange Flat Stanleys and get to "see" another part of the world. E pals is another site that I have longed to use for student collaboration with writing. The issues that may arise with these two sites is finding a good match. In the past I posted on Epals and found one or two classes interested. However, it turned out there was a huge number difference and so it never went through. This could be a potential problem with the Flat Stanley project as well.
Another type of collaborative technology would be using Voicethread or Edmodo. These sites can encourage sharing information, or documents. It also allows for leaving feedback and critique.
Most of these sites only require computer access, while the Skype would require web cams. If you were to just Skype as a whole class only one webcam would be needed. Many laptops today have built in webcams and microphones which would eliminate the extra devices.
Some of the same sites used for students can be used for teachers as well, voicethread, edmodo, and skype. But there are oodles of communities to get involved in as teachers. Currently, I have my own teacher blog and am following several others which I have come through my reader so I can stay on top of them all. I also am a part of proteacher and there are several groups to join via Edmodo. Call me cheap, but I am all about the free sites! I think I have said this before, but I will say it again... there is no need for a paid subscription if something similar is available for free. The one place I have paid for teacher stuff is the Teachers Pay Teachers site.