This will be a teacher related post, as I am always trying to find new and exiting ways for my lessons.
As a language teacher, I have many times thought that it would be wonderful if there had only been a place online, where teachers could find each other and get in touch, across country borders. Then I attended Bett 2018 and it turns out that such a place exists and it is called Skype in the classroom.
So I have embarked on a journey, in order to try out Skype in the classroom, in my Spanish lessons to begin with. Using Skype in the classroom will give my students an opportunity to speak in real life with students from other countries, with people who are native speakers of the language they are learning. When speaking IRL, my students will be forced to use the language they have learnt at school, in a different manner than they would in the classroom. In addition, they will also meet people of this culture, which I hope will give them more insight into why language learning is useful.
I signed up on their webpage, and started doing courses and learning about Skype in the classroom and they have got five ways of using Skype in the classroom.
Explained briefly, virtual field trips are when your class is taken on a “field trip” through Skype by an expert on a certain area, a biologist, a historian etc. Skype lessons are teachers or experts, who give lessons to your class through Skype. Skype collaboration is when teachers and their students collaborate with other teachers and students around the world, either one time or several times, using Skype. Mystery Skype allows a class to Skype with another class in the world, but not knowing where they are from. The classes ask each other yes/no questions to find out and the first one who finds out, has won. Guest speakers can be, for example authors, who speak about a book they have written.
All of the five ways of using Skype in the classroom sounded fascinating, but I decided to focus on Skype collaboration. I did some of the required courses and filled in a form to get my request on the Skype in the Classroom platform.
My Spanish students are positive towards doing Skype in the classroom with another class and I am currently awaiting a reply from some teachers to see if this will be possible (time schedules etc have to be sorted out and changed in some cases to make these meetings happen).
I will give a short presentation at a teacher meet up that we will set up later in March, but if anyone is interested, I could make a “how to” blog post on Skype in the Classroom.
I’m looking forward to trying this out and I can see myself using Skype in the classroom actively from next school year.
Have you tried Skype in the classroom? I’d love to hear your experiences with it and how your worked with it.
Lots of love,