Skype in the Classroom allows students to experience new cultures, language, in or outside the classroom as well, writes Shimmi Sharma, Language Educator, Sunbeam School, Lahartara, Varanasi.
Skype in the Classroom is “a free global community” that allows teachers to collaborate on classroom projects and share skills and inspiration around specific teaching needs. Teachers can use Skype in a variety of ways to enhance their students understanding of a certain topic in a way that will be more exciting and memorable.
How to use Skype in the Classroom?
After teachers create a profile that describes their interests, teaching specialties, and location, they can begin to create projects that act as a way for teachers to connect with other teachers and classrooms across the globe. On this global platform, teachers can either ask for help or offer help. Skype in the Classroom also provides the opportunity for guest speakers to be present in the classroom without ever having to take a trip or even leave the office!
What are the benefits to using Skype in the Classroom?
- Provides opportunities for students for social interaction with people outside of the classroom
- It offers the opportunity to connect people and objects that are not in the same physical environment
- Allows guest speakers to stay at the office or not travel in order to come speak to a class
- Improved learning strategies
- Greater perseverance, and reduced need for help from the instructor
- Social interaction provides critical opportunities for learners who are learning at a distance
- Internet technologies offer opportunities to connect people and objects that are not in the immediate physical environment. Using Skype in the online classroom improves social interaction and helps to create an authentic peer review environment
Videoconferencing in the Classroom – Utilising experts, authors, and guest instructors who would never otherwise be able to visit the school. Through this we can get the eminent personalities of the world in the four walls of the classroom.
Virtual Field Trips – Using video chatting to bring the Field Trip into the classroom – for example, visiting The Ancient Museum Egypt, Pyramids and Fossil Park and many more places. The students can get connected to far off distance places through the spectrum of internet.
Foreign Language Learning and Cultural Exchange – Teachers use Skype to connect local students with native speaking students from other countries. When the students from one communicate with the students of other country they come out of inhibitions and there is a development of a global community which crosses the borders safely. Skype allows students to see in real-time what people’s lives, homes, schools, weather, and more look like in other countries. This also encourages the cultural development and global citizenship in the learners.
Social interaction allows the learner to reflect and reconsider, get help and support, and participate in authentic problem solving. Classroom teachers can leverage the potential of disruptive technologies like Skype and other technology immersion initiatives to increase student motivation to communicate with authentic audiences, spend more time on assigned tasks, and develop essential literacy skills needed for vocational and lifetime success in the twenty-first century.
There are so many stellar learning opportunities out there when we open the world to our classroom. There will always be the rare individual who is against new technology or who suffers from techno-panic. Teachers across the world have already arranged many enlightening and unforgettable conferences, demonstrating the extraordinary potential of Skype in the classroom. Skype enables students to connect, collaborate, and communicate with other students across the globe. It creates an opportunity for students to learn from each other, to have authentic audiences for their work, and to meet others who can further their learning. There are many educators who are working together to with the aim of promoting peace and global understanding.
Classroom-to-classroom Skype conferences have also proven valuable in teaching foreign languages. Students are afforded the chance to practice speaking the language with native speakers. The one-on-one Skype sessions provides the learners with not only valuable grammar and pronunciation practice, but also improved the conversational skills, such as negotiating meaning, that are essential to excelling in a foreign language.
As an educator, it’s our responsibility to build a strong foundation of global citizenship by incorporating 21st Century Skills that is to build up Communication, Creativity, Collaboration and Critical Thinking. Let’s get connected to this world of e-learning.