Videoconferencing and Skyping - why do it?

These tools allow us to:
  • communicate with outside speakers
  • embark on virtual field trips
  • collaborate and learn with diverse classrooms

While websites are great for information, videoconferencing and Skyping maintain the human element of learning. The social aspect of these tools make them even more powerful in the classroom.


Skype





Download Skype for free

Classroom Examples



Resources for Skype


Collection of research, tips, strategies:


Skype Lists and Directories


Search here to find potential links with Skype. Add your name to any directories that catch your eye. Keep in mind the time zone differences. Trying to Skype with a school in India will be difficult due to the time zone difference! - Time Zone Converter Tool

Skype Educator's Directory - A free directory that connects teachers and helps them use Skype to enrich students' educational experience.
Skype in Schools directory listing
Sype in the Classroom directory
Skype an Author
Additional list of Authors
Skype an Expert
The Mixxer: for language learners>
Skype for Educators
Classroom 2.0
Global Explorers: Skype in the Elementary Classroom>
Around the World with 80 Schools


VideoConferencing Programs


Try to search for free programs. Some programs cost $50 - $200.

NASA Digital Learning Network - free programs from NASA. New user registration is disabled for the summer, but you can still browse the programs that are offered. These programs are popular and fill up fast ( need to schedule 3 months in advance ). Sample Webcast Sample Description
Polycom Videoconference database
MAGPI
VC collaboration wiki
Library of Congress programs
Videoconferencing Instructional Strategies not a list of programs but info on designing your own projects.
Project TWICE - you can submit ideas for class to class projects and activities. Register for an account. This is a great site!!!

Skype and VC


Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration - you can submit ideas for class to class projects and activities. Register for an account.
Berrien RESA Best of Lists
Project Planning Guide - Ideas for planning your own collaborative projects. This guide even gives a time frame and agenda for each type of project.

Tips and Considerations


  • The most difficult part is finding and making a connection. Don't overlook connecting with classrooms within our district and within York county.
  • A 30 minute Skype call or VC may take up to 1-2 hours of preparation ahead of time.
  • Check all equipment ahead of time.
  • Plan how you will run things on your end. Will students raise their hands to ask and answer questions? or Will you use a predetermined order ( posted on the board ).
  • Have a set spot for students to speak where the microphone is set. Talk about your procedure for approaching the mic before connecting with your call. Rearrange your room so that students can be seen by the webcam or VC cam.
  • Go over class expectations prior to the event so that students know how to act.
  • Do a test call prior to your actual class activity. Make sure to exchange phone numbers with your contact ahead of time in case of technical difficulties.
  • When connecting with another class, leave time in your activity for students to ask questions between each site. They will definitely want to.
  • Start small. Many classes start Skyping with an informal Cultural Exchange with another class. Each class gives 5 minutes of info about where they are from, followed by a Q & A session.