August 30, 2021
Microsoft Teams vs Skype for Education – What’s the Difference?

Microsoft Teams vs Skype for Education – What’s the Difference?

It is normal to get torn between Microsoft Teams vs Skype for education if you are setting up distance learning for your students. Both programs offer excellent communication features and are widely used by most parents and older students.

Teams and Skype are tools that enable teachers to deliver lessons through group chats or web and video conferencing. But which is the right tool for you? Here are a few similarities and the major differences between these programs.

Microsoft Teams vs Skype for Education: Similarities

Obviously, this article is about the differences between Microsoft Team and Skype. You probably already know that both programs are powerful digital communication tools, so I’ll only mention a couple of things they share in common.

Free Usage

Microsoft Teams is free for anyone with a Microsoft account. However, it offers a few different subscription plans (as part of the Office 365 suite) with robust options starting from $5 per user every month. As you probably have guessed, the paid plans include robust features and capabilities.

Skype is also a free video and web communication tool. Making Skype to Skype calls is completely free across the globe. However, it costs money to make calls to landlines and to use premium features, such as SMS texts, voicemail and calling non-Skype users.

That’s about everything Teams and Skype have in common besides being products of the same company.

Microsoft Teams vs Skype for Education: Differences

Microsoft Teams vs Skype for Education

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace that comes as part of Office 365. The well-built online communication tool incorporates video calling and audio calls as well as conferencing capabilities.

Users can chat privately and with groups. Chat history and content are visible to everyone on the team. Plus, you can also chat with Skype users because Teams integrates with other Microsoft applications, including OneNote, Excel, Word, Outlook, and more.

Microsoft Teams Features

The following features make Teams great for the classroom:

  • Robust workspace: All conversations, tools, and contacts are available in the workspace. Users can view a chat’s full history, and all conversations remain intact unless deleted. This means students can access previous discussions or any material shared in the workspace.
  • Group chats: You can host up to 10,000 people in a Teams chat, whether that’s a video, audio, or web conference call. This allows for greater collaboration and sharing of ideas within a large group. The call duration is 60 minutes for the free version, while calls can last for up to 24 hours with a subscription.
  • Chat functionality: You can chat in a virtual conference space or with specific teams or groups through channels. If you prefer to collaborate with a smaller group of students on certain projects instead of the whole group or class, Teams allows you to create smaller chat groups for that purpose.
  • Built-in access to other applications: Teachers can use Teams’ integration capabilities to create interactive lessons using OneNote, SharePoint, or Skype. Educators can get timely feedback using this feature.
  • Real-time collaboration: Users can work on a document right on the app at the same time with the real-time collaboration feature. Administrators and staff in educational institutions can also collaborate and stay up-to-date with announcements and participate in topical conversations.
  • Third-party app support: Teams work well with hundreds of third-party bots and apps that integrate seamlessly with the program. They provide additional functionality and features directly into Microsoft Teams, making it a feature-rich application.

Skype

Skype is a video conferencing tool that allows one-on-one as well as group calls. In addition to video call and conferencing capabilities, it works well for audio calls, instant messaging, and file transfer too.

In a nutshell, Skype is a simple and no-fuss communication tool for sharing experiences with a small group of people. Educators can leverage its easy-to-use features to share lessons with their students, regardless of their location.

Skype Features

Here are some of the key features that make Skype different from Microsoft Teams.

  • Group video calls: You can have up to 50 people on a group video and audio call but not more. This makes it a suitable communication app for smaller groups.
  • Video call duration: Group video call on Skype is limited to 100 hours per month. Each video call has a limit of four hours per session and a total of 10 hours per day. If you exceed these limits, the video call automatically switches to an audio call.
  • Messaging: Skype allows users to send texts, instant messages, and voice messages. This is an efficient way to stay in the loop; a feature that ensures students don’t miss out on vital announcements.
  • Screen sharing: Users can share a live video of what’s on their screen to others on a call. It is a great way to demonstrate to those on the call (in this case, your students) how to do something.
  • File sharing: You can also share photos, documents, presentations, and other file types on your computer with others. However, you can only share files that are not more than 300 MB.

Advice on Microsoft Teams vs Skype

Advice on Microsoft Teams vs Skype

In comparing Microsoft Teams vs Skype for education, it is important to first define exactly what you are trying to achieve with distance learning.

The Microsoft Teams app is probably your best bet if you are looking to provide a robust and vibrant online environment that will act as a digital hub for everything about your classroom. You can have assignments, study materials or documents, and conversations all in one place.

Teams is also the better choice for collaborating with other teachers and for building a shared learning environment for larger groups.

On the other hand, Skype is a great choice if you have a small group of students and mostly do video calls. It offers a longer video call duration compared to the free version of Teams.

If you are thinking of setting up distance learning for younger kids in elementary and middle school, Skype is probably the better choice. That’s because you are less likely to need all the advanced features of Microsoft Teams.