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I stumbled across Skype in the Classroom when I was listening to my chosen podcast.  Although familiar with Skype, I had never before heard of Skype in the Classroom.  It sounded interesting enough so I decided to check it out. I discovered and blogged about some of the basics from this free educational technology in my post on Podcasts but I wanted to find out more…..

The home page on Skype in the Classroom states: “Skype is a free and easy way for teachers to open up their classroom. Meet new people, talk to experts, share ideas and create amazing learning experiences with teachers from around the world.” So other than this blanket statement how could you use Skype in the Classroom and what are its benefits?

  • Chat with an author of a favorite book or book the students are studying
  • Collaborate with experts
  • Conducting interviews with experts, children around the globe, administrators, other classrooms in the school or community, etc.
  • Incorporating guest lecturers
  • Inclusion (if a child is hospitalized or has an illness or disease that requires him/her to stay home)
  • Including students with special needs who may have to be out of the classroom
  • Promoting and experiencing foreign cultural lessons by viewing homes, clothing, weather, schools, food, music, traditions of children around the world
  • Conferencing with parents
  • Teacher availability and feedback for students while at home or working on projects
  • Virtual field trips

I found the previous hints and ideas for incorporating Skype into the classroom at:

http://www.teachingdegree.org/2009/06/30/50-awesome-ways-to-use-skype-in-the-classroom/

Another interesting site that talks about the benefits of Skype in the Classroom is:

http://edtechideas.com/2011/04/05/rationale-for-using-skype-in-the-classroom/

 This past school year, my preschoolers wanted to learn more about “big kids’ school” and what kindergarten life is like so I video recorded the inside of an elementary school and a kindergarten class, asked their questions to a kindergartener and recorded the kindergartener’s responses which I then shared with my students.  Skype in the classroom would have made this experience, not only, easier but the students really would have had some control and been more invested in the process because it would have been occurring in real time and the experience would have been more enriched.

To find more about Skype in the Classroom and to register visit:   http://education.skype.com/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrmayo/5021503392/

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