I was recently phoned by a telephone exchange company trying to sell me cheap international calls if I switched my allegiance to them. On the end of the line, one of those telephone sales people rambled on and on so that I couldn't interrupt and tell them to find another hobby. When eventually she did pause for a breath I informed her that I skype. A longer pause followed. I thought she was about to hang up when she asked "What does that mean?". I was amused that a sales person for a telephone company did not know about new telephonic technology. So I explained. Skype is a programme that allows the user to initiate phone calls from one computer to another (assuming that the other has downloaded skype onto their computer too). Not only can one talk to friends and family with the aid of a computer and microphone, if you have a webcam you can see each other too. The telephonist genuinely sounded impressed and asked skeptically how much it cost for a skype call. I told her that was the best part of it - it is completely free. She apologised for taking up my time and hung up.
Skype has been a wonderful way for Manaia Kindergarten children to meet and get to know children from other kindergartens around New Zealand. We have many examples of children in our Whangarei Kindergarten (at the top of the North Island of New Zealand) crowding around a computer and microphone exploring the art of conversation with children from Geraldine, Fiordland and Auckland. The skpying kindergartens have shared their knowledge of painting, matariki, possums and stoats with our children. As teachers we have been able to hold professional conversations with teachers around New Zealand and as far away as Chicago.
On a more personal note my sister recently packed up her family, with my 10yr nephew and 2yr old neice and flew off to Tuscany for a 6month holiday. It is a trip of a life time - and I miss them. My niece and I had just come to a turning point in our relationship - as happens between me and most 2yr olds. We pass that awkward phase and become buddies. So it was kinda tough on us for her to then be whisked away. The highlight for me during their holiday in Italy is that I have spoken to my sister and nephew much more than I ever did when they were just 2hrs drive from me in Auckland. We skype almost once a day - whenever Mathew is a bored he sends a little chat "Want to skype?" - and I beam from ear to ear. My niece has peered into the webcam and watched me - fascinated - but seems to have found it all a bit confusing. Today she peered into the webcam, then vanished, and I could hear her talk to my family as she pointed to the computer and said "Beverly". Later she sat on my sister's knee (her other aunt) and was taught to blow kisses. We had a wonderful time blowing kisses from Whangarei to Tuscany and back again - til I almost cried!
Have you Skyped today?