"Can we skype this afternoon?"
These are the questions my eager 4th graders ask each day. You see, they are getting quite comfortable using this web 2.0 tool.
Over the past several months we have connected with students in Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Utah, California, a local meteorologist and even the classroom down the hallway.
If you look up the word "Skype" or "skyping" in the dictionary, you will not find it. However, it has become one of those 'new' verbs that have been identified with the 21st century (like "google it" and "text me"). Skype has taken the pen pal idea and made it into 'instant pals!"
Skype was founded in 2003, but has recently begun to make its way into our classrooms. Using Skype one can video-conference with another user (for free).
This year Social Studies has come to life via Skype. Kim Powell, a fourth grade teacher whom I met via Twitter, asked if I was interested in doing a Mystery STATE Skype with her classroom. Check out her Glog here!
The students researched clues that would help identify our state to help the other students guess our location. Students took turns sharing clues about bordering states, bodies of water, climate, geography, resources, famous people, animals and more. After that we started 'skyping' other classrooms of teachers I connected with through Twitter. It was a hit!
Along with using a Social Studies book the students were learning first hand about different states, schools and more. It became the highlight of our days!
It has opened up doors and windows for my students that they would have been only able to 'read' about.
For days after our skype calls the kids would be abuzz about what they had learned from each mystery class. Many students researched the Mystery State further (without being prompted!).
Skype in the Classroom is a site that allows teachers to connect. You can collaborate or post project suggestions. It's a great way to get started.
Fourth Grade teachers may sign up for Mystery Skype through our #4thchat Wiki.
Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano (Langwitches) created this Assessment tool to use with skype. As she says in her blog, "A skype call is a learning call". The forms which she has designed allows students to prepare for the call and then share what has been learned.
Check out this Family Feud between 2 classrooms using Skype!
Skype Feud from Kelly Moore on Vimeo.
Would love to Skype with other classrooms next year...math, science, ELA, the possibilities are endless. Please contact me if you are interested! I can't wait to start early!!!
How have you used Skype in the classroom - Share below!