I was sent a link to this useful Guide to Using Skype in the Classroom and thought that it was worthwhile giving it a mention as it may be something that teachers might consider for the forthcoming school year. The Guide gives a step-by-step explanation on how to set up Skype and then gives some examples on how teachers are using Skype in the classroom. Some examples may be quite American and may not work here in Ireland, but the examples might spark an interest in teachers to use Skype in a different way. There are mentions of some Skype apps as well as pros and cons in using Skype in the classroom.
I used Skype with my 6th class for the first time in May when we linked up with a New York elementary school who were doing a Skype project where they were talking to schools all over the globe on the theme of “Community” for the entire day via Skype. It was called a “9 to 9 Skype Conference” because they were going to do it for twelve hours in school! Because of the time difference, I think that we were one of their first schools. They were quite well organised and prepared and my pupils had to talk about their ideas on the theme of “Community”. It went quite well for our first experience of Skype in the classroom. You can read what my pupils wrote about the conference HERE
If you’ve used Skype in the classroom, please leave a comment below and let us know how it worked out. You could also give other teachers some ideas on how to set it up and how to get the most benefit out of it.
I came across this video on Vimeo which explains how to set up a Skype project:
How to create a project on Skype in the classroom from Skype in the classroom on Vimeo.
After a meeting all staff set up Skype accounts on a trial basis. We intended to use this a messaging service from teacher to teacher, teacher to Principal. Information we intended to communicate e.g no outside this break time, daily reminders e.g. mass at 2pm, science talk at 12pm etc. This started off well but was phased out quickly too. The reason for this is that teacher’s laptops are connected the IWB all day and the messages could pop up on screen allowing the children access to see. If teachers had a hand held device e.g. tablet e.g. iPad, iPod Touch etc on their table this would be much easier to manage.
On the plus side I use Skype in the classroom to communicate with the Principal and other classes e.g. if we learned a new song we will ring another classroom/Principal and perform this. We also used Skype when we were at the Junior Spider Awards in March. We only could bring a limited amount of children so those in the RDS skyped the school and gave the others a virtual tour of the exhibitions and what they were up too. Good broadband and sound Is a must.
This year I would like to link up with another class (2nd) and use Skype as a tool for preforming to others, communicating and getting ideas from other classrooms.
Great ideas there Emma, thanks.
I’ve used Skype a few times with classes over the last few years. I’ve done a few straight forward calls with schools around the world. We also did one with a smaller rural school as a comparison with our larger urban school.
More recently we did a Mystery Skype call with a school in Canada. It was great fun and the class learned so much. They used yes/no questions to narrow their search. They used atlases and Google to pin point the school’s location. It was a great lesson and went well even though it was our first time! I’d love to do more mystery calls with Irish schools to improve the class’ knowledge of Irish geography.
We have also used Skype to play games with other classes to improve oral language, we played ‘Guess Who’.
The classes I’ve had love using Skype. We’ve developed other projects from our calls. These included hosting a set of Flat Stanleys from the USA, we also did a box swapping projects with schools in Canada and Ohio.
We also made great use of our experiences for writing on our blog!