What’s the chatter about video chats?

Using video chats in the classroom is an excellent way to broaden the audience your students have access to. Years ago when video chats (aka video conferencing) first became available, you needed to be a tech savvy wizard to operate it and you need to keep your fingers crossed that the connection wouldn’t fail. Nowadays, video chats are easily accessible to everyone. In fact many students have programs or apps on their phones that allow them to video chat effortlessly at the push of a button or tap of a touch screen. In this week’s blog, I am going to discuss the video chat programs/apps I prefer and outline the many benefits to using these in your classroom.

There are lots of ways to video chat but I prefer the following:

1. Skype

  • An instant messaging app that provides online text message and video message services
  • Users may transmit both text and video messaging and may exchange digital documents such as images, text, and video
  • Skype allows video conference calls

I prefer using Skype for video conference calls because you can see all participants on one screen. However, once you get more than four participants some individuals are not able to view others. This can make conversations difficult.

2. Google Hangouts

  • A communication platform developed by Google which includes instant messaging, video chat, SMS and VOIP features
  • Includes several Easter eggs to surprise users
  • Google Hangouts allows for conservation between two or more users
  • Allows for Livestreaming through YouTube
  • On April 25, 2017 Google Hangouts will shutdown
  • Hangout Meet (for video conference) and Hangout Chats (for instant messaging) will evolve

If you are using a Chrome based system in your class, then Google Hangouts is the program for you. The user interface is incredibly user friendly and easy for students to learn. One downside to the program is that only the person speaking is visible on the screen. Therefore in a group conversation the screen is constantly changing to display the speaker. However, I do find the connection for Google hangouts a lot better than the connection for Skype.

3. FaceTime

  • Apple’s video and audio calling service
  • A phone that uses your Wi-Fi or cellular data connection instead of traditional phone lines
  • You can use it from any iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac, to call anyone else using any one of those devices

This is a great option if you are trying to video call another person that also has FaceTime. It is very easy to use and it has a very strong connection. The one downside to FaceTime is that it can’t be used for video conferencing.

How can you use Video Chats in the classroom?

  • collaborative learning with other schools
  • frequent guest speakers
  • high profile guest speakers
  • virtual field trips
  • connecting with parents
  • teacher vlogging
  • playing Mystery Skype
  • engage in live learning activities with experts
  • international collaborative learning opportunities


There are endless ways to use video chats in your classroom. The following is a list of resources to help you get started:



One thought on “What’s the chatter about video chats?

  1. Thanks for another great post on Educational Technology! This current post gives me some valuable tools to connect with other Teachers and classrooms for live chats and discussions not just for my Professional Learning Network, but for the benefit of my students as well. I’ve been following your blog since it’s early days and have found it to be full of great ways to leverage technology and online collaborative platforms to improve my pedagogy and classroom environment. I’ve shared information I’ve found here with my colleagues and encourage everyone to not only bookmark this blog, but follow every post on it! I’d encourage anyone just reading this blog for the first time to follow the links, comment on, and share the information found here for some great Professional Growth!


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