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How do you do....it? Thread, Skype in School in Technical; So I've been asked to look into setting up Skype in the boarding houses here at school. My brief is: ...
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    Skype in School

    So I've been asked to look into setting up Skype in the boarding houses here at school. My brief is:
    "To allow the students to use Skype in a Private Public location, possible with a handset" (Yes you have read that correctly).

    Sooo.... Does anyone allow the use of Skype in school for the pupils? Any problems occured, anything I should be weary of (other than the fact it's going to hog bandwidth and we can't monitor it and god knows what pupils are going to be getting up to). Any specific policies/AUP been needed?

    My initial thoughts are that mybe it needs to be on a timed access but I wondered if anyone else had wandered into this minefield and have you gotten through it without having your legs blown off?

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart_C View Post
    To allow the students to use Skype in a Private Public location, possible with a handset
    What's a Private Public location? If you're going to allow the children to use video conferencing I'd definatly aim to have it in a public area of some kind, preferably somewhere where it can be monitored by a teacher. I tend to get a dodgy-looking "Hi, you want to chat?" message every other day or so on my Skype account, it's not the kind of thing I would recommend allowing pupils to sit in their rooms unsupervised and use.

    If I understand Skype handsets correctly they are basically telephone handsets that have a Skype client in, so all they really need to function is a wireless Internet connection. If a child has one of those themselves then there's nothing really to stop them using it how they wish, same as any mobile phone, other than your normal rules about mobile phones and similar devices.

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    David Hicks

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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    There was a topic here a few days back discussing the use of Skype in schools - a quick search will find it for you.

    Gareth

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    I have been looking at some sort of video calling for my boarding school. I have problems with giving out skype as I can't control who students talk to, it could be anyone. I found a system called BigAnt which is an internal IM server, video calling and VOIP system. The trial version will run with 10 concurrent licenses but it has some neat features if you purchase extra licenses such as the document server which allows you to create a file structure and share documents through it. The system logs chat messages and call times etc so you can monitor usage.

    Permission setups are brilliant, and you can prevent users seeing other users, so parents or friends of boarders cannot see other students to chat to.

    I did find though that the video chat had a problem with my ISA server and despite opening the correct ports on the firewall I couldn't get an external client to video chat with an internal client, but I have recently purchased as Smoothwall device and it works perfectly now so it must have been my config on ISA which was playing up.

    I have spent quite a while looking at IM systems, this one beats all others. Support is great too.

    Skype would be brilliant if only they would make an internal server which I could setup and run how I would want it. BigAnt is a very good alternative.

    Hope this helps.

    Ben

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    RabbieBurns's Avatar
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    My last school was a boarding school, and we set up a similar thing. We had a machine set up with a webcam, microphone etc that the students could use to speak to their parents via skype. THe parents had to contact the boarding house to arrange it (one off) and the students had to book the room in advance. The students were only allowed to skype their parents, no-one else. It worked pretty well, and wasnt abused.

    edit: Also, once the student logged onto the machine, the only thing that was available was skype. It was locked down so much that there was no taskbar, no start menu, nothing, only skype.

    When I left I suggested getting a wifi skype phone to use instead, after I got one for home use and it was pretty decent.

    http://www.belkin.com/skype/
    Last edited by RabbieBurns; 25th March 2010 at 11:55 AM.

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    Cheers for the info.
    I'd swear blind that other topic wasn't there when I searched prior to posting it.

    Thanks for the update. It does seem that the tendency is towards it being a bad thing, for all the benefits.

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