The 1962 cartoon The Jetsons showed how George and Jane communicated instantly through linked video monitors. Now, jet-pack 50 years forward and realize that this happens every day via Skype. Armed with an inexpensive webcam, see how this free video conferencing service can expose your students to a world of possibilities.
Planning a Skype experience
- Set a goal. Have a clear objective in mind when using Skype. Ask yourself what standards could best be taught utilizing outside collaboration?
- Locate lessons. By joining Skype in the Classroom, teachers gain access to a free platform that connects educators and experts to learners globally. Search for lessons based on your standards or create your own. Watch this video for a brief overview of how to introduce Skype in the classroom to your students and parents.
- Test the technology. To ensure your class will have a positive experience, be sure to test your connection before a scheduled call. Consider contacting your school’s IT department in advance to ensure there won’t be any issues with bandwidth.
- Prepare the class. Depending on the purpose of the Skype call, students should practice their presentations, develop strong questions, designate roles, etc.
- Debrief. Once the call has ended, discuss with your class what they learned and how Skype was effective in attaining the learning the learning objective.
Skype ideas worth the hype
- Mystery Skype–The idea is simple. Two classrooms come together via Skype. Neither class knows the other’s location. By asking closed questions, with yes/no answers, students narrow down possible locations. Once the students have discovered where the other class is located, engaging conversations about their locations come alive. Download a set of Mystery Skype task cards. To get the gist of a Mystery Skype, watch this clip (to the right) of South Creek Elementary fourth grade students. Interested? Click on this link to get your class signed up today!
- Literacy Discussions–Center Skype conversations around a text. Check out the Global Read Aloud created by Pernille Ripp. Broken down into grade levels, teachers can sign up with classrooms world-wide for Skype connections. Download a set of Literacy Discussion Skype task cards.