Monday, June 18, 2012

Skype in the Classroom

I just LOVE twitter! I love seeing what people are talking about, learning new things, and SHARING! Last week I had Skype in the Classroom follow me.. and ask how I used Skype in the Classroom.  So, I thought I would give a quick overview!

3 years ago I attended the first Podstock and met some amazing people!  Amazing people that were excited to collaborate and video conference with my self contained special education classroom.  Now, I say video conference.. skype was blocked at the time in our district so we were using gmail chat.  Now our school is able to use skype and oh my goodness the opportunities my students have had!

Our first couple of calls were not very successful, not because of connection issues.. but because I hadn't taught my students how to be a good audience or good participants.  Once I put the rules in place my students couldn't wait to see who was going to be our next skype call!

Our classroom has skyped with Kimberly in El Paso, where her class read us stories.  I then skyped with a Dyane's class in Kansas where exchanged Christmas cards, sang carols, and read a book.  After those first few skype/video conference calls.. I wanted more! I wrote a grant for 50 webcams.  This would give each LIFE classroom a webcam, so we could start video conferencing throughout the district and beyond.  I wrote social directions for students to follow that incorporated words and picture symbols.

Since those first calls our classroom has had a chance to skype with Kim's class in Kansas and was able to see a real llama, skype with Olivia Holt from Disney's Kickin It over bullying, Dyane's class for Christmas and Dr. Seuss birthday, Elaine in Illinois to tell her thank you, and classrooms across our district.  We have created collaborative poems using google docs and skype.  I even took my students on a virtual tour of the National Museum when I was in DC for CoSN for the NSBA 20 to Watch Reception.  You can check out some of our products that we made collaboratively at our class blog

This year I found a private donor that donated an iPad 2 to our classroom which made skype calls so much easier!

I am super excited to see what other educators are on Skype in the Classroom website.  I have some good connections, but I am always looking for other people to connect with!  How do you use Skype in the Classroom?  Who do you connect with?  What activities do you do?

So, for the next 2 weeks I am going to be talking about ISTE!  Be watching for videos, snippets of information, and just ISTE talk in general.  I am a complete newbie!


  1. I'm an author and offer my services to help students with their writing as well as just offer author insight. I've only used Skype a few times secondary to not having a camera on my computer at this point but hopefully in the future I can get an upgraded computer with a cam built in. I also use google talk to be in a classroom every day during class time to help guide the students and do some one-on-one time with the students for their writing projects. It's all about gaining exposure for my books or offering my expertise on a topic. E :)

    Elysabeth Eldering
    Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series
    "Train of Clues" (a mystery destination story, predecessor to the JGDS series)

  2. Hi Andrea, as a companion tool to Skype, you might consider a tool we launched recently called Härnu. We're at Enables you to connect with educators and other people around the world in your own language. Thanks.