Skype in the classroom
7th grade classes in Colorado, USA and El Salvador were working on collaborative presentations in Google Docs related to what a day looked like for kids in their respective countries. Early in the project as students were editing their google docs excitement erupted. The other class was also online and working on the presentations. Immediately Google Apps group chat windows began popping up and student exclamations could be heard all around the room. These students were no longer separated by thousands of miles.
We very quickly shifted the entire class into the center of the room and our partners in El Salvador did the same. We got Skype up and running at both ends and within minutes were video conferencing with our partner school, and the excitement began to crescendo. We had not prepared in advance for this. It was a bit of a surprise, so there was no script, just kids engaging in discussions about each other, face to face with their partners in another country using Skype. Hobbies, favorite books, musicians and the weather were the main topics of discussion.
This impromptu skype lesson developed further as we began to prepare for our final conference with the schools, sharing our projects and asking questions of each others' culture etc... Skype allowed us to bridge the distance gap and students soon realized that kids in other countries aren't so different from one another. They enjoyed similar experiences in all avenues of life.
My collaborative partner is this project was Jennifer Garcia the Learning Resources Centre Coordinator from Academia Britanica Custaleca in El Salvador. Together we coordinated this learning experience for our students and used skype to iron out the details.
Check out the student presentations on the ABC wiki.