Enriching Your Curriculum with Skype

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Dr. Christopher Buczinsky, a local illustrator and children’s book author and Dr. Garrard Mcclendon, an acclaimed talk show host were larger than life on the Smartboard. With students seated around a simple screen, both Dr. Buczinsky and Dr. McClendon engaged the audience in their creative thinking processes and captivated even the most apathetic student . The interactive experience was impressive, causing a constant buzz, and proving that meaningful learning experiences really do create a residual effect.

For many students, Skype is larger than life. It allows learning to extend beyond the four walls of the classroom and brings the world to the child. Skyping is not limited to classroom exchanges. Inviting industry experts, community leaders, and perhaps even celebrities have become possible due to video conferencing.

In my experience facilitating classroom Skypes, I have found a few details to keep in mind:

  • Ensure the classroom teacher has set up a Skype account prior to the scheduled Skype. Conduct a test run to ensure audio and video are working.
  • Ensure the screen is large enough to accommodate the viewing audience.
  • Set up a central location where students can ask questions individually.
  • Decide which venue(classroom, media center, gymnasium) will best accommodate the Skype.
  • Provide students some background on the presenter. Allow them to draft some possible questions.
  • Determine how much time will be allocated to the Skype.
  • Make the Skype connection a couple of minutes before the actual start time.
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