Skype in the Classroom
Many of the teachers involved in the Global Read Aloud project saw a lot of value in using Skype in the classroom. Another teacher and I were discussing her experience, and she stated that her read aloud became more interactive and focused. Rather than just reading for enjoyment, she had an instructional focus. Because the class had to be prepared for their Skype call, the students had a reason to pay attention to the reading, and “Skyping” with another classroom made the experience authentic and relevant.
Mrs. Rizo started charting all of the states and areas within Canada she has “Skyped.” See the image of her map below.
Thank you to all that participated in the Global Read Aloud. It was probably a little scary at first but it was educationally valuable.
The Global Read Aloud is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many projects out there to integrate within classroom instruction. Check out Skype in the Classroom to get an idea of what classroom projects are out there regarding Skype. On this site, you join certain projects or start your own Skype project.
One that I like is called Mystery Skype. With Mystery Skype, the idea is to Skype a class in another part of the country and attempt to figure out where they are located based on simple yes/no questions. A “yes” answer allows for a follow up questions, while a “no” answer gives the opposing group the chance to ask a question. Students are broken into groups and given jobs for their Mystery Skype session.
Check out the following video overview from Langwitches:
Mystery Skype Jobs
All of these jobs do not have to be utilized. They are just ideas that may help. Maybe there are some jobs missing below. What should we add? Please comment below.
- Greeters – say hello and tell something about us without giving away our location
- Inquirers – ask the questions of the other group
- Question Keepers – type questions and answers on computer
- Mappers – use atlas, Google maps etc. to zero in on the clues
- Logical Reasoners – eliminate states that don’t match the clues
- Clue Keepers – collect relevant information from everyone
- Back Channelers – record what is happening during Skype call on Edmodo or Today’s Meet
- Runners – goes between other groups and help with research and getting questions to Inquirers
- Digital Photographers – captures the Skype call with a digital camera
- Videographer – uses a video camera to capture what is happening
- Twitter Updaters – is class has a Twitter account send out updates
- Live Bloggers – write blog post on classroom blog about the Skype. Remember to end with questions to get more comments.
- Closers – give more information about us and end the call.
- Langwitche’s Skype jobs
- Google Doc Job Resource
I suggest that students write reflect on their experience. Students could also post their jobs online to demonstrate their involvement. A whole group reflection on Kidblog can be found here: http://kidblog.org/DentonDynamos/tag/our-first-mystery-skype-call/
Of course, students can think of additional questions as they eliminate states.
- Are you in the United States?
- Are you east/west of the Mississippi River?
- Does your state border another country?
- Does your state have a coastline?
- Does your state have a mountain range in it?
- Are you attached to a Great Lake?
- Does the __ River flow through your state?
- Is the capital of your state __?
Mystery Skype Resources
- Signup sheet with 4thchat teachers
- Silvia’s blog post with video of the Mystery Skype call
- Linda Yollis’ blog post about the Mystery Skype call with teachers at a training with Silvia Tolisano
- Mr. Avery’s blog post about his Mystery Skype call with Linda Yollis’ class
- Linda Yollis’ blog post about the call with Mr. Avery’s class