Brian D. Hadfield, Middle School Teacher, Chippewa Valley Public Schools, Michigan
Technology has the ability to transform classrooms into global learning environments, allowing children to broaden their horizons and their worldview. It also provides educators with new outlets for creativity and collaboration.
One of the latest technological developments comes courtesy of Skype, with its Skype in the Classroom venture. This free feature is designed to provide an international community that connects students and teachers in ways that allow them to share ideas, aptitudes, endeavors and more without having to leave the classroom.
To get started, teachers simply need to create a profile that includes their location, interests and specialties. Upon completion of their profile, they can create projects and browse existing ones that other teachers have initiated. There are hundreds of active projects and a filter allows teachers to easily find topics suited to their needs. Whether they’re looking to speak with someone living in a volcano zone, discuss life cycles with a chicken farmer or simply chat with a native French speaker, it’s possible through Skype in the Classroom.
As of May 2012, more than 28,000 teachers had signed up for Skype in the Classroom, which offered nearly 1,900 projects, including:
In addition to the numerous projects, Skype in the Classroom also houses more than 600 resources – a library of articles, links, videos and more than can assist in classroom studies.
With such an abundance of resources and projects, this interactive feature from Skype can benefit teachers and students on a global scale, bridging regional and cultural differences, as well as language barriers.