Skype Expands To Phone Booths, Classrooms

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Some companies would take a moment to catch their breath after managing to get 30 million customers online at the same time, but not Skype. After passing the 30,000,000 user online simultaneously milestone on Monday, the VoIP company has two different plans in the offing to keep itself ahead of the crowd.

In Estonia, the inventors of the service–developers Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu and Jaan Tallinn–have created the world’s first Skype videophone booth, complete with 22-inch touchscreen, that allows users to log into their Skype accounts to call friends and family, all for free–or, at least, as free as it usually is to call other Skype users (Skype credit will be necessary to call other phones).

The first booth has been placed in Tallinn Airport, with others planned to appear at Estonian airports, hotels, hospitals and shopping malls before potentially expanding to other countries should the idea prove popular enough.

Meanwhile, the company has unveiled its new “Skype In The Classroom” initiative, a free online directory of teachers and educational professionals throughout the world using Skype to help their students learn. “Classroom” aims to, in Skype’s own words, “save teachers time and help them make the most of Skype and the international teaching community”:

Skype in the classroom was created in response to – and in consultation with – the growing number of teachers using Skype to help their students learn. It’s designed to help like-minded teachers find each other and share inspiration and resources.

Teachers are encouraged to sign up to collaborate on projects, connect with other teachers, or simply brainstorm new lesson ideas. I admit, I wish this kind of thing had existed when I was in high school, if only for the potential it held to help me realize all those French lessons I could barely feign interest in had more practical application than chatting up exchange students visiting the school.

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