In my latest edition of the Instructional Technology Newsletter I spoke about how SKYPE can be used as a free video conferencing solution for the classroom. Currently there are thousands of teachers around the world looking to connect and collaborate with other classes in the same or different country.
While the benefits and opportunities with this type of global collaboration are astounding, there are other ways that Skype can be used in the classroom. Skype can be used to connect with a subject area expert, author, professional, artist, or anyone that has an experience to share. Access to Skype and a web-cam is no longer a limitation for many individuals. Most laptops come equipped with a built in web-cam. Since Skype is free the barriers to entry are minimal!
Recently I read about a high school class in Colorado who recently read the book, "A Whole New Mind", by Daniel Pink. The teacher sent an email to Mr. Pink requesting a short video conference with him. To the teachers surprise, Mr. Pink agreed. The students were able to speak with Mr. Pink live in their classroom. They were able to connect their thoughts regarding the book with feedback from the author.
This type of opportunity has never been so easy to make happen. By connecting with experts and authors around the world we are extending our classroom beyond the 4 four walls. Technology is allowing our students to be educated by individuals that they could only read about before.
Are you ready to globalize your classroom? Have you sent an email to an author or subject area expert? Because of the convenience of this technology you will be surprised how many people are willing to connect with you.
Here is a great place to start. Skype with an Author Network, is a wiki page that was created to provide access to Authors that are willing to Skype with classrooms for free. "The mission of the Skype an Author Network is to provide K-12 teachers and librarians with a way to connect authors, books, and young readers through virtual visits."
If you are interested in using skype in your classroom for one of the above mentioned connections please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to put it all together for you!