Palo Alto, California-based Skype has partnered with DonorsChoose.org and committed to donate up to $250,000 to allow teachers to wire up their classrooms with interactive chat and voice technology. The teachers who request it, will have access to money to spend on digital equipment such as laptops, tablets and webcams in order to allow students to participate in classroom experiences not bounded by school walls. The collaboration is part of the company's Skype In the Classroom initiative to wire up one million classrooms across the globe.
Announcing the new partnership on the company's blog, Tony Bates, the president of Skype division at Microsoft, said that DonorsChoose.org would make a great partner in this effort because they also view technology as a creative means to solve difficult societal problems.
Here's how teachers can take advantage of the program:
– Starting today, Skype will give a $25 USD DonorsChoose.org Gift Card to each new teacher who registers for Skype in the classroom. The teacher can then apply the value of the gift card to any classroom project at DonorsChoose.org or one they create themselves, if an eligible U.S. public schoolteacher.
Here's how the public can support the program:
– Go to DonorsChoose.org and look for "Double Your Impact" projects that have the Skype logo and make a donation. Skype will then provide a 50% match on these projects.
Over 23,000 teachers are already registered for Skype and use the technology to allow students to connect with others around the world. Through this initiative, the company hopes to encourage more schools across national lines to collaborate on projects, share ideas and further goodwill via exposure to different languages, cultures and customs.
"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."