Saturday, February 4, 2012

Web 2.0 Tools: Skype in Education

Teachers should embrace Skype's capabilities within the classroom and beyond the classroom. First thing that comes to mind is the Indiana's elimination of parent-teacher conference times during and after regular school hours. The elimination of these conferences came as a shock to parents. Many parents look forward to meeting with their child's teacher at least once, but why not allow parents the opportunity to Skype with teachers. Doing so, will provide a more interactive meeting with the parents. From this meeting, it would be easier to put a name with a face. I have had parents become perturbed by me not remembering who their child was. It is easy to forget that teachers see hundreds of parents and students each day.  Being the only male in the building makes it easy to recognize me. I remember seeing a parent around the school frequently, and I spoke with her over the phone several times. However, I never had a formal face to face meeting with her. It was teacher appreciation week and she approached me like we were old friends. When I asked, "Who is your child again?" The conversation dynamic completely changed. Happy "Teacher Appreciation Week!"

Start your own profile today and connect with teachers.  My profile is provided above.  If you ever want to video chat between buildings and classrooms, let me know.   If you want to increase the geographic distance, then watch the following videos to start your profile.

How to create a profile and find a teacher from Skype in the classroom on Vimeo.

The following is a list of additional implications for Skype:
  1. Use the program to explain an assignment or project
  2. Have students meet professionals or subject matter experts on a current instructional unit
  3. Have students meet pen pals that live great distance from the school
  4. Skype other classrooms 
  5. Interview student family members that have experienced certain historical events (WWII or September 11th)
  6. Have a guest reader (anyone) read a favorite book to the class
  7. Skype an Author 
  8. Have students share published writing with a more meaningful audience
  9. Provide at home tutoring
  10. Provide students that are absent from school with instruction
  11. Provide parents with examples of student expectations on unfamiliar projects
  12. Have students present a research project or science fair project
Check out these blogs for additional information on utilizing Skype effectively.  The first blog-type site provides 50 Ways to Skype in School.  The next blog provides a video demonstration for how to Skype around the world.  
    Of course, there are many more uses for Skype in the classroom. Please provide any additional ideas through the comment section below.

    Teachers: How can Skype be used to enhance learning for K-12 students? What projects could you create with others?  If you decide on a project, you can always post a project request.  Here is a short video about creating a project on Skype.

    How to create a project on Skype in the classroom from Skype in the classroom on Vimeo.

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