Now, after Skype update 7.33 we have the possibility to share system sound (this update is being distributed little by little, so depending on when you read this article you may not yet have it available).
What is system sound?
System sound is the sound that comes from the speakers integrated in our computers (or from the headphones we have connected). For example, when we listen to music, the sound comes out through the speakers of our computers. So, our students can’t hear it or they hear it badly.
And how is this sound shared on Skype?
Before this update, if we wanted to share audio or music on Skype during a lesson without using other programs, we could turn the volume up to maximum, so the students would listen to it through our microphone, or we could them send the file. But depending on the activity, this was not very practical.
To share system sound now we just need to share it as we share screens. That is, during a call click on “+” or go to “Call” on the menu and choose “share system sound”. And that’s all. At this point, the sound of your audio or video will get to your student with your voice. Of course, your voice will be attenuated, so the main sound will be the system sound.
But isn’t it possible to share video?
Quick answer: no. But you could actually share videos (without any sound) before by simply sharing screens. Now, you can also share the sound. So, if you share the system sound first and then the screen (very important: it must be in this order!), your student will get the image and the sound of the video.
I have tested it and it seems that although each one goes through a different channel (image and sound) they get to the student at the same time. But, I doubt that in bad connections this works just as well. It’s all about trying it out.
So even if Skype is not my favorite communication app, I admit that this small innovation has provided a very powerful tool for us, online language teachers.