Unified Communications Featured Article

Skype and DonorsChoose.org Unite to Promote Technology in the Classroom

March 22, 2012

Skype, a popular communications software company, has announced a partnership with DonorsChoose.org that would donate $250,000 through grants to teachers who want to purchase technology that would enable Skype video calling in their classrooms. The initiative is part of Skype’s online community, Skype in the Classroom, which has the goal of connecting 1 million classrooms across the globe.

“We realize that to achieve our goal of connecting one million classrooms across the globe, we need to partner with like-minded organizations that serve teachers,” said Tony Bates, president of the Skype Division at Microsoft. “The partnership with DonorsChoose.org is a natural fit because, much like Skype, DonorsChoose.org uses an innovative model to help make a meaningful difference for thousands of teachers and students.”

DonorsChoose.org allows public school teachers from all over the world to post requests for material or student needs that they have identified in their classrooms. People then go to DonorsChoose.org, select projects that interest them, and make donations. So far, the organization has collected $102 million for items like books, art supplies and technology.

“DonorsChoose.org engages the community in public schools by giving people a simple, accountable and personal way to address educational inequity,” said Charles Best, founder of DonorsChoose.org. “We envision a nation where children in every community have the tools and experiences needed for an excellent education and Skype, through its Skype in the Classroom community, is helping to make this vision a reality.”

To help fund these technology projects, donors can log onto DonorsChoose.org and look for projects that are labeled, “Double Your Impact.” For these projects, Skype will provide a 50 percent match for any donations that are received.

Skype in the Classroom allows teachers to connect with other teachers and classrooms around the world to collaborate on projects and to share both ideas and inspiration. Without leaving the classroom, students have the opportunity to explore new languages and new cultures. So far, 23,000 teachers have registered to use the program.

Skype plans to provide a $25 gift card for each new teacher who registers for Skype in the Classroom. The gift card can then be applied toward any DonorsChoose.org project.

Edited by Rich Steeves