Reitz High School

Reitz High School
Evansville, IN

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Connect Your Classroom with Skype

Hopefully everyone's weather is more spring like and we can officially say goodbye to this long winter.  I know that I am ready for some sunny days, short sleeves, and short pants.  Well, lets get down to business.  I have been promising that I would be sharing some things that I have learned at the last few conferences that I have attended.  This post will be one of those share-outs. 

Nicholas Provenzano

While at the MACUL conference in Grand Rapids a few weeks ago, I attended a session led by , Nicholas Provenzano.  His session was on digital tools to support reading and writing.  He had several great ideas for using Skype.  One use that I have shared before, is that it is a great way for a teacher to bring in an expert or professional for the topic of the unit or lesson being taught.  It could be a great way for a classroom of students to connect with and ask questions directly to someone that works with the lesson/unit topic on a daily basis.  This is great if the expert lives in another state or country and is not available to travel to the school.

This next idea is excellent and one that I hadn't thought of.  Picture this, my wife and I love movies.  Many times after we watch one, we will discuss it and debrief afterwards.  Many times we will find that each of us saw and interpreted things about the movie differently.  For the classroom, a teacher could coordinate with a teacher in another building or school district and have them read a novel or teach the same unit during the same period of time.  More than likely, the two teachers, as well as, the students in each of the classrooms will get different ideas about what they read and are taught.  Once a week, the two classes could Skype for a collaborative class discussion led by the two classroom teachers.  It would be really interesting to see the difference of perspectives for a classroom of students in the city versus a classroom of students in a rural area or better yet, a different state.

Tim Wilhelmus
I was super excited about these ideas.  If you need help setting up, signing up, or using Skype, here is a link to a webpage that my colleague , Tim Wilhemus share at our workshops and conference sessions.  It includes more ideas for using Skype, as well as, resources for getting started.  To go to the link, click here:  Skype Page

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