As a Spanish teacher, I use Skype to teach my classes. If you haven’t used it before, don’t be afraid. Here is a brief explanation about how to install it and how to use its basic features.
What is Skype?
Communication is crucial for not only socializing, but also for learning. However, what used to be letters is nowadays online communication through social media, which makes it significantly easier for us to maintain relationships. Therefore, one of the most powerful tools now for people to connect in many ways, both personally and professionally, is Skype. What is it exactly?
It is a program, operating in Microsoft, designed to help share experiences with people, through text, voice and video. More simply, it is calling somebody from your computer or phone, being able to see them and text them at the same time, no matter where you are or what you do. And the best part of it is that it’s free! Thus, you could see an old friend, call your family while you’re away, celebrate a birthday, be present in a meeting on a different continent, and even learn a language while using it. Thousands of people are already using Skype, and in order for you to become part of this magnificent experience of bringing your entire system of friends, family, workers, employers and/or customers together, all you need to do is install it on your phone or computer and add people you want in your network.
So, how do you install Skype?
- It is quite simple. Since it is part of Microsoft and is free, the best way to acquire it is to go to the Skype official website and just click “Download Skype”.
When you click the link, it will ask you if you would like to install it on Windows, Mac or Linux. Moreover, you will have an option to install it on other devices, such as your mobile, tablet, home phone, TV, etc.
When you run the install file, the installer will download the Skype application, which is about 20 MB. If for some reason your internet connection is lost while you are doing this, the installer will resume as soon as the connection is restored.
You also can choose Spanish to get used to the language J
- Read the Skype click-to-call. This will install a toolbar in your browser with which you can use Skype call by just one click. If you do not wish to have this, unclick it and then click continue.
- The installation will be ready within less than a minute, and you will see the Skype sign-in screen.
- If you do not have an account, click create an account.
- Enter your personal data. That means that you need to provide a valid email address that Skype can use to send newsletters about any possible offers or updates. Next, you choose a Skype name that can be between 6 and 32 characters and can contain letters, numbers, full stops, commas, dashes and underscores. Your Skype name is what other people see when they contact you. You also use it to log in to Skype in combination with a password, so choose a name that is unique to you and easy to remember. Later, choose a password. The password can be between 6 and 20 characters, and it can contain at least one letter and one number. All Skype passwords are case-sensitive, a computer command that specifies that each letter must be typed in exactly as required, which provides better security.
Special attention should be paid when choosing a password for your account. There are a few ways to make a strong password, which will be more secure. The longer it is, the better. Try to use a mix of alphabetical and numerical characters, as well as a mix of upper and lower-case. It is a good idea to use phrases, but using only the consonants, for example “that’s a piece of cake” would be “tht’spcfck”. It’s getting fun, right? Well, it can get even crazier. You can decide to combine two unrelated words, such as “caramelized cement”. And instead of using space, which is frequently not allowed, you can use another punctuation character, such as #, %, ^ etc. Try to avoid using passwords shorter than 6 characters, your personal details, card or ID numbers, addresses or common names. Hackers find that predictable and easy to access. For more details on how to choose a strong password with examples and ideas, you could consult The Boston University Information Security website.
How to use Skype for learning Spanish
Summarizing, Skype is a nice tool to use when you practice your Spanish speaking skills. Look on the Internet for some native Spanish speakers willing to practice your native language and offer them a language exchange!
With Skype you can send instant free messages on a daily basis. Stay close to your friends using group chat, keep your ideas flowing and have fun organizing your next gathering by naming your group chat, sharing pictures and videos and take collaboration to another level. One of the top features to work collaboration is the share screen option, which I use for my Spanish classes by Skype. In that way you can see my screen and we can work on the exercises together.
Your friend is not online? Skype has a solution for that too. Make a low-cost phone call to mobiles and landlines. If that is not enough, you can also install Skype from your Outlook program, and you can chat just by one click from your inbox. You name it, they have it. For free. It has never been easier.
Additionally, as previously mentioned, one of the recent booming Skype updates is Skype translator. It is a speech-to-speech translation application developed by Skype in 2011. It helps people communicate across language barriers by translating video or voice calls into six languages- English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin. When you have a Skype translator, you can easily call anybody whose language you don’t understand, and it will translate it all in near real-time. As well, an on-screen transcript of your call is displayed. Additionally, you can send instant messages in 50 languages. Could it be more comfortable? This actually means that Skype has broken the language barriers and has brought everyone across the globe closer. To get more detailed insight on how to use it, you could take a look at the YouTube tutorial on how to use Skype translator.
Ready? Don’t wait and try my Spanish classes by Skype.