Last night I read a fantastic blog post about the benefits of #Mysteryskype by my colleague Jennifer entitled Exploring the World: One Skype at a Time and another by a member of my PLN Devon Caldwell on Differentiating with Skype. Both these posts highlight what an amazing tool Skype can be in the classroom.
My own adventures with using Skype in the classroom started with jumping into the Global Read a Loud Project in October (2nd month of teaching career). Since then we have participated in over 10 #Mysteryskypes with classrooms around Canada and the United States.
Through these experiences I have noticed and begun to appreciate a few things:
- Despite being in rural Manitoba, Skype has enabled me to bring the world into my classroom. We have been able to ask questions and learn about places that my students may never get to see. Being able to talk to others makes the experience of learning geography come alive!
- Every student can participate in some way be it asking questions, listening, taking notes or searching for places on a map.
- Collaboration and co-operation is key when Skyping. We simply cannot all talk and move around when we are busy chatting with another class.
- #Mysteryskype has helped develop our critical thinking and questioning skills all while honing our geography knowledge.
- Students are highly engaged when participating in a Skype chat.
- Digital etiquette and citizenship conversations have had real time applications and examples.
Are there any other benefits I have missed on my list?
Next steps with Skype:
- I would like our class to connect with the author of our next novel.
- Have a guest reader or two for I love to Read Month connect with us through Skype.
- Look into holding book clubs with students from other classes. I say this because I only have 12 students in my class and it can be hard to find classmates with similar tastes in reading.
- Look into testing Google Hangouts for larger group chats
If you would like to learn more about how to use Skype in the classroom check out: https://education.skype.com/. If you are interested in trying out a Mysteryskype you can check out the #mysteryskype hashtag to find people to connect with (or just send me a shout out! We are always looking people to connect with!).