Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Guest Post: Using Skype in the Classroom

January3

Skype is a great way for families and friends around the world to connect with each other, and there are also some very cool lessons that teachers can incorporate using the free video technology as a classroom tool. Consider just a handful of the possibilities highlighted on Skype in the Classroom:

Collaborative Math

A fifth-grade teacher in Texas developed a math program that used Skype to connect students in different classrooms. One class created word problems for the other class to solve before both groups collaborated on problem-solving procedures.

History Lessons

The National Museum of the Royal Navy in England invites classrooms around the world to virtually board the famous ship HMS Victory for a history lesson, courtesy of Skype. The project includes a selection of mini-tours, activities and question-and-answer opportunities to be completed during the Skype session. This type of up-close lesson can be used with a variety of historical sites or objects and can span a range of age groups.

Cultural Exchanges

Skype is a perfect vehicle for cultural exchanges. Some classrooms are opening their virtual doors so students around the globe can get a “day in the life” glimpse of their school. Students can also give presentations via Skype on music, food and other traditions of their particular region or nation.

Industry Expertise 

Teachers can invite industry experts to discuss their experiences and knowledge. For example, students could Skype with a national park ranger to learn about ecology, geology and more. Other options include having a corporate executive provide youngsters with a Skype’s-eye view of a board meeting.

Mystery Skype

Here’s how this fun activity works: Two teachers in different schools arrange for a Skype session but don’t reveal any additional details to their students. During the session, students in each classroom ask their counterparts a series of questions to glean details about their hometown, state or nation.

There are countless possibilities for incorporating Skype in the classroom as a valuable educational tool. Indeed, part of the fun and learning for students and teachers alike can come in the form of brainstorming ideas and projects.

This guest post was provided by Paul Warren. Paul works with University Alliance on behalf of Dominican University Online. Dominican University Online offers a Master of Education in Elementary Education.

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Hey, edu-tech gurus!

Looking for some technology integration ideas to enhance your classroom lessons? Then be sure to check out my "Tech Tips" for the latest and greatest Web 2.0 tools, applications and web sites that can be incorporated into activities and/or projects. Although some posts may not be applicable to your content area or grade level, be sure to check back often as I will be varying ideas in order to provide resources across the K-12 curriculum.

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