Skype has been a tool that has helped transform teaching and learning in my classroom. It is free, user friendly, available world wide, suits the low bandwidth that I often have to deal with and is constantly being improved. There are many members in the Skype in Education community from across the world, all eager to connect and collaborate.
This is the third year of the 2 day Skypeathon and the dates are 28th and 29th November, with a theme of Open Hearts and Open Minds. Our school is nearing the end of the school year, so senior students have already finished which leaves me with only a few year 7 and 8 classes who can connect.
Our first connection yesterday was with my year 7 ICT class with a school in Abakan, Republic of Khakassia in Russia. The teacher was Dina Averyanova. A coin was tossed over the webcam with tails called. We won the toss. Questions were asked with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to determine the location.
We asked whether they lived north of the equator and then whether they were in Asia. They responded yes to Asia and we responded no to them when asked. My students took a long time to work it out as they classify Russia as being in Europe. Finally we worked out the countries and then it was question time.
- Times of school days
- Comparing times and weather
- Number of students in the school
- Favourite sports
- What do you do after school?
The learning was evident
- Skype goal is written in miles. We had to convert to kms.
- Temperature in Siberia was -17 degrees, we were 33 degrees celsius
- School days start at 8am, finish at 1:30am in Russia, we start 9am and finish at 3:30pm
- They had 700 students, we have 220
- They classified them as being in Asia, which confused my students as they would have thought should be Europe
- and so much more.
Research after the event: Is Russia really in Asia
Second connection: Our times for classes did not match with the linkup in India. So, several of my students sent a video message through skype with Neeral Mittal and her class in Ghazibad and are hoping that they will respond with a video message.