When I came home and started logging into my various Internet accounts––Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Google Docs, etc.––I was surprised to see that Skype had been blocked. More than anything, it was inconvenient for me because I was supposed to have a conference call with my sisters who don’t live in Minneapolis anymore.
Instead of three-way calling for free via Skype, we had to waste our minutes on our cell phones. I wasn’t the only one who was inconvenienced, though; countless other students had to alter their daily routines. Specifically, the international students were not able to talk to their parents face-to-face that night.
Skype has been an incredible tool for chatting with relatives in other states and countries. Not only can you talk and SMS for free, but you are able to see the person you are talking to, which makes the conversation much more personal.
In the short amount of time that Skype was available, it helped with my schoolwork significantly. Being able to work collaboratively on homework has been beneficial. I was able to talk to a fellow journalism editor about a writer’s piece and critique it with them simultaneously. Another time, I quizzed my friend on vocabulary terms for an Ecology test.
The administration has recently reversed their decision against the Skype ban. Although the ban is no longer in place, the impression is lasting; they didn’t trust students to use their resources correctly.
The real issue is that BSM took away a powerful application that could really benefit the students. We were able to stay in touch with relatives and friends who might not live near us, as well as use the application to help with schoolwork.
As a school, Benilde-St. Margaret’s should be bold enough to deal with the changes happening in technology, not block them.
If they are concerned about Skype being a distraction during school hours, they should find a better way to monitor use, like maybe using their fancy monitoring devices to catch students.
Skype is back but who knows what the administration will attempt to block next.