Skype has become boring and why that’s a good thing


I quoted Clay Shirky on that quite a bit already, but I think his idea that tech first needs to become boring in order to make a real impact on society is straight on, still.

It seems that Skype finally reached that point of being a boring commodity as it has made its way into mainstream news coverage for a couple of months now. Even the most conservative news shows on TV invite guests via Skype these days and the verb “skypen – to skype” has also found its place in the German language when someone talks about making video calls.

Potentially even more interesting for my edupreneurial readers is a story that has been featured on the weekly blog of the US correspondent of one of the major TV stations in Germany last week. Usually, this video blog features stories “from the Big Apple” (I know, sorry for that) but in this segment he covered a music teacher for Irish tin whistles who built / extended his business via Skype.

Now, the student in Poland is actually not a new student, she already took lessons in New York with the teacher. But when she relocated to Europe it was of course hard to find a local teacher for this special instrument. Hence, she started taking lessons via Skype.

Not long before that I also started using Skype for some lessons, exercises for my lower back to be precise. After I slipped a disk a few weeks back, a friend of mine who happens to teach football and fitness told me that I needed to start doing something and ordered me to stand up and follow his lead via webcam. An that’s what we’ve done almost every evening now.

If you actually do a search for “Skype [insert topic] lesson” or “[insert topic] via Skype” you will find a ton of results. And as you can see in the video above, all teachers decided to set up their own pages. None of them is using a platform because it would make no sense. If people are looking for lessons via Skype, why should I “hide” on a teaching platform, right?

To wrap this up, here is another story. This Sunday, in the pre-show of This Week in Tech one of the guests on the show, Brian Brushwood, told a story where he gave one of his magic performances for a birthday party via Skype lately.

As both video and audio quality are that good these days, you can easily stream a fullscreen video which makes lessons or performances like the ones above possible. The lagging has also gotten so minimal that the music teacher can play along with the student and also hear minor mistakes. Show me a virtual classroom that can handle that.

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