Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Power of Skype

As financial and economic educators, we have an obligation to prepare future generations to make wise and understood money management choices. We provide our students with recommended curriculum, engaging activities, and educational simulations. Most importantly, we give our students our hearts. Yet, we can do more.

The corporate community has a lot to offer our students, and many want to help. The challenging obstacle is connecting your classroom time to their limited free time.

The answer: Skype.

Skype is a free service that allows you to video conference with others around the globe.

In the development of my student-run financial literacy organization, TeenDollars, I hosted Jerry Carstens, the former Vice-President at Proctor & Gamble and John Morris, the Chief Operating Officer at the University of Cincinnati Economic Center for Education & Research. Using Skype, an accountant spoke to my Business II class about managing the books in a business. Mark Knue, the Vice-President of Victory Wholesale spoke to my Business II class about the functions of running a business.

Imagine the possibilities.

I have had great success bringing in bankers, financial advisors, bankruptcy attorneys, insurance professionals, and others for an entire class period. Although I want to do more.

Moving forward, I have scheduled professionals from these fields to speak via Skype as a hook for the first fifteen minutes of my class. Pat O'Brien, an accomplished author on college and career readiness, will be speaking to my class in the coming weeks. An insurance professional will speak to my Personal Finance class about annuities. The list goes on...

Most importantly, you can guide the speaker's time with a specific topic and a student-generated list of questions. With this direction and a more narrow window of time to fill, the speakers will be more effective and more willing to volunteer their time.

Now it is your turn. Please feel free to share your ideas of how you will use Skype to enrich your classroom and content.

About the Author:
Brian Page is currently a Finance and Economic Educator with Reading Community City Schools. He has won various 'Teacher of the Year' awards and was recently VISA's 'Financial Innovator of the Month'. He serves on state and national committees including the BizWorld Education Advisory Council and the Ohio Commission on Personal Finance Education. He has presented at a number of conferences, and his co-created game (Awesome Island) was just announced as the Institute for Financial Literacy's EIFLE Award winner for 'Best Instructional Game, Tabletop'. He currently holds a BBA and MEd. Mr. Page is also a Director of Coaching with one of the largest soccer organizations in the country, leading the Community Outreach Program.


  1. Brian,

    So cool that your using Skype in this way. It's a fabulous tool - as someone running a startup with a geographically distributed team, I'm on it daily.

    Thank you for being such a dedicated, creative teacher.


  2. Its amazing how one new invention can affect the knowledge of students. As a member of Mr. Page's marketing class, I have seen this work effectively many times.

    Kelsie Vaske,