For many of us, at least in the United States, another school year is over. Even as we eagerly embark on our rejuvenation journeys for the summer, you might be thinking, as I am, of new ideas for the next school year. This week, I would like to share some of the improvements I hope to make in my classroom for the 2013-2014 school year. Today’s post is about using Skype in the classroom.
I say that I am going to do it every year, and I never do. I tried it once a few years ago, and it was a bit of a disaster – completely disorganized, kids who were bored watching other kids doing it, kids who were doing it with nothing to say.
But then I ran across this Mystery Skype article that I posted about in April, and I saw how it could be something manageable – and a highly engaging learning experience for my students.
I love that the site deals with the logistics, like assigned roles for the students, and possible questions. I really could have used both of those things during our first experience!
I definitely plan to try this with my first graders next year. Our theme is “Folktales” and we read stories from around the world. At that age, even gifted first graders are still trying to figure out the differences between cities, countries, and continents – and they are absolutely fascinated with looking up locations on the globe and on Google Earth.
I also found Skype in the Classroom, which gives even more resources.
I’m trying to think of other ways to use Skype besides the typical ones (interviewing an author or learning about an international classroom). One way that I am considering is to bring it in to our Systems Thinking unit by having the students from different countries respond to a global issue and the way they see it effecting them. Along the same lines, they could discuss their reactions to an event in history. It might be fun to take some common idioms from different cultures and have the students complete or interpret them. I’d also like to get some people to speak to my students about their passions, and Skype could open this up to more than local leaders.
Here are some more Skype resources in case you are interested. However, I would love to hear any ideas you may have that are NOT on this list!