Connecting with others almost always helps us learn something new. The value of using skype is that we can (usually) see and hear each other from distant locations. Facial expressions and body language which are huge in communication are able to be visualized, lending value to the experience.
My colleague and I discussed both the social and professional uses for skype. I’ve used skype in the past to connect with family when I or another family member have been out of the country and didn’t want a huge cell phone bill. It’s helpful when a child is away at college and wants to show you something (a tie, a blister, or the color of a date’s dress!)
My thoughts on using skype are to hold open “office” hours when facilitating classes or to connect with other health care professionals or teachers in order to collaborate on projects. There was a particular outreach program a few years back that was using skype to connect with high school students who were interested in pursuing health care careers. A medical team was in Africa and wanted students to see the types of interventions that were being provided. Unfortunately, the team was able to approve only a few classes for participation and my class was not accepted. But the potential for sharing life changing experiences via skype is intriguing.
Health care in rural areas is another area in which skype is making a difference. Specialists can evaluate patients from a distance. This opens up a whole new area for health care professionals in evaluating and treating clients. I think it also opens up a whole new area in learning distance treatment skills. Teaching students how to interact and evaluate via skype may become an important health care skill as this becomes more prevalent.