Friday, August 17, 2012

Skype in the Classroom

In continuation of my last post on Mystery Skype, I am going to talk about a couple of other ways that you can use Skype in the classroom and give you some resources for them.  Skype is a wonderful tool that should be used more in classrooms for communication and modeling good digital citizenship.  Some examples of ways that you can use Skype in the classroom are video pen pals with a class in another town or state or even country, a video chat with an author of a book your class is reading, or a video chat with a person in a career that your class is discussing or wants to know more about.  Of course, this is just a small list.

These types of activities allow your class to experience the outside world, rather than just their community or state.  If you are doing a “video pen pal” type activity, this allows them to get to know someone else in a different part of the country or world.  If you are talking to an author about a book, it allows the students to ask the author why he had certain characters do certain things.  It also allows the students to ask the author what they do when they get stumped when writing a book.  If they are talking to someone about a career, they can ask about schooling, and what they actually do.

However, there are some limitations to Skype.  It is only one-on-one interaction, in other words, your classroom to another classroom or person.  Also, you don’t have the same options as a Distance Learning cart or room for virtual field trips.

There are some applications that you can put on you computer that will allow you to act like a DL cart or room through the IP system.  One system that can be used is Jabber, and there are many more.  This type of system also allows you to “conference” with more than one site.

There is also Google+, which as of now is not part of GAFE, and would need to be a teacher’s personal account.  Google+ will allow up to 10 people/sites at once and allow you to see what is happening on the desktop.

I hope that you will enjoy using some type of communication system in you classroom.  It is a fun and new way to integrate technology into the classroom

List of resources and web sites:

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