With this year’s Skype-a-Thon fast approaching (November 29th-30th), we’ve been asking teachers who took part in last year’s event to share their experience with us. To travel the world, and make unforgettable connections, from the comfort of your own classroom, don’t forget to register for this year’s Skype-a-Thon!
Today’s guest post is by Karina Bailey, Kindergarten teacher, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, and Skype Master Teacher from Georgia, USA. Here she shares her students’ experience from last year’s Skype-a-Thon event and its impact on her young students’ hearts.
Why did you participate in the 2015 Skype-a-Thon?
Last year marks the beginning of a Skype adventure with my Kindergarten class. Prior to the Skype-a-Thon we had only participated in Skype sessions with our classroom parents, other local schools, and virtual field trips. When I learned about the Skype-a-Thon, I knew it was an opportunity to challenge me to take a chance and expand our use of Skype in the Classroom. Our two days participating in the Skype-a-Thon was an amazing opportunity for us to collaborate and connect with other students from around the world.
How did you participate?
The classes we connected with were all very unique and our experience with each of them was different. I found other educators to connect with through the Microsoft Educator Community. We sang, danced, discussed culture, asked questions, shared art, and played “Mystery Animal Skype” or “Mystery Number” with our new friends. This event is truly one that you can design and plan for it to be what you desire for your students. Join the Microsoft Educator Community and start connecting today!
What impact did the Skype-a-Thon have on your students and their learning?
Connecting with multiple classes from around the world allowed us to have conversations about our differences, although few, and similarities, in a way that does not typically happen within the classroom. Students realized how similar they were to children around the world and were exposed to many different cultures which opened their world view. They learned about the geographical locations, interests, and cultural norms for each class we visited virtually.
What was your biggest takeaway from the event?
Participating in the Skype-a-Thon inspired me as a teacher to design learning moments for my students through Skype. I created a lesson on Mystery Skype for younger grades (K-1) on the Microsoft Educator Community to target skills and standards that directly support our classroom learning, in hopes of connecting with as many students our age from around the world as possible.
Would you recommend other classes participate in the Skype-a-Thon event this year?
ABSOLUTELY! Take your learning outside the walls of your classroom! The Skype-a-Thon provides an opportunity for students to explore the world in a way that many of them never will in their lifetime. Take a chance, make a call, and see the growth and inspiration that this event brings. Expect your students to be engaged, inspired, and excited to jump on their next Skype call!
Our Skype-a-Thon, on November 29th-30th, is a great way for new teachers to get involved. Find out more on our website. In case you missed it, or to re-live the experience, you can check out the action from last year’s Skype-a-Thon in the wrap up video and 2015 Sway presentation.
Parents: Why not ask your school to get involved with Skype in the Classroom so your kids can experience the world live from their classrooms?
Guest speakers/partners: If you want to share your expertise and inspire the next generation, you can apply to become a guest speaker. If your organization is interested in hosting virtual field trips or having a guest speaker program, start here.