This Skype blog story explains how photojournalist Anna Therese Day used Skype to learn about rising sea levels from schoolchildren on Kiribati Island in the South Pacific. The students helped her understand how their lives were changing because of deteriorating seawalls and limited access to clean water, which helped her write the story she believed needed to be told about their changing way of life and perilous future.
This article on distance learning describes how students in Alaska spent the night at school in order to be awake for a video conference with an Israeli classroom. The collaboration goes beyond simply learning about cultures because the students actually collaborate on projects. In my opinion, this is exactly the kind of projects students should working on. Tech workers today work in global teams and spend much of their time doing exactly this: problem-solving through video conferencing.
I included this link as an example of the virtual Skype field trips available because I think this would be a wonderful cross-curriculum field trip. Language Arts students could write about the turtles, while science students could learn about marine ecology.
Of course, it's the Skype classroom Twitter feed! Follow them to get the latest featured projects and ideas. This should really keep you up to date on the latest challenges and opportunities for Skype in the classroom.
Microsoft's Skype in the Classroom site has tons of ideas and opportunities for connecting your class with others around the world through Skype. There are also many lesson plans, virtual field trips, and Mystery Skype ("a global guessing game"). If you're interested, this would be a great place to start exploring.