On Tuesday last week, I received a request from @shamblesguru (alias Chris Smith) to linkup with skype for one of his professional development sessions, at a school in Singapore, on the use of skype for learning. Fortunately it was after school hours and I was able to oblige (it is approaching VCE exams and I am not so adaptable with classes at this time of year).
Rather than simply talk to the teachers, I decided to demonstrate the best features of skype for learning. To ensure best quality conferencing, I cabled in my laptop to the school network and answered the call with video. 10 mins before the session began, Chris and I tested our sound, video quality etc. Chris set up a todaysmeet as a back channel.
Features of skype used
- Audio and chat – Chat was periodically used to ensure full understanding of my accent. Todaysmeet backchannel was also used.
- The video – the webcam was used to demonstrate some of my favourite hardware eg flip video, easispeak microphone
- Screen sharing for sharing a MS Powerpoint presentation of the school, students and some of our global connections.
- A virtual tour of the school – my laptop was uncabled and I walked the Singapore teachers through parts of our school and the outdoor surrounds. They were shown the Chinese Teahouse (as we teach Chinese mandarin), outdoor totem polls painted by students, our beautiful big gum tree (our school logo), the school canteen etc. Leanne our canteen operator had just baked tasty looking sausage rolls. Pity the smell did not waft through to Singapore!
The virtual tour worked really well and received positive feedback. I personally feel that is one of the most ‘magical’ uses of skype or videoconferencing for learning. Below is some feedback given:-
Following is some of the feedback via Todaysmeet backchannel:-
- It is interesting how technology can be used to enhance teaching and learning!ifah
- what a great way to meet an expert from half-way around the world.
- Skype put to good use-educationally and feeding the young minds to a world of knowledgeangelia
- Your school looks very beautiful! I like it!!Li Lin
What features of skype do you like to use? How do you use the web camera? View a video of the session compiled by Chris Smith. Thanks Chris for sharing.