Great ways to kick off the new year with Skype in the Classroom

Today’s post is brought to you by Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts and Skype Master Teachers Stacey Ryan and Kyle Calderwood.

Using Skype in your classroom is a great way to engage your students and connect what they are learning to real-world topics. Below are a few ideas, beyond Mystery Skype which we highlighted recently, to connect your students and content using Skype. From the main Skype in the Classroom page, you can select any of these options to book an immersive experience for your class…for free!

Take your students on a virtual field trip: We all have limited budgets in our schools, and field trips are often difficult to arrange. Through Skype, you can book your students on a tour of the Dinosaur National Monument or visit the Lisbon Zoo in Portugal! Take your students anywhere in the world without spending a dime or leaving your classroom.

Virtual field tripInvite experts as guest speakers: This not only highlights ways students will use what they are learning in their future careers, but also exposes them to inspiring professionals and opportunities they may not otherwise know exist. If you have a particular topic that your students are learning about, why not bring in an expert on that topic over Skype to really engage your pupils? We’ve been able to connect our students with an Olympic athlete, a developer from the Xbox team, a marketing manager at Amazon, a rescue diver, a Disney Imagineer, authors and many more. Experiences like these can really enhance student learning.

Connect with another class (or more with a group video call) and play a collaborative game of Kahoot. Select the topic/game with another teacher whose class is learning the same content. Connect via Skype, then share your screen so all classes use the same join code. Students in each class take turns explaining the answers as needed. Helpful hints: Have students use the teacher’s name as part of their username, and be sure to mute the call during the response time as it can get quite noisy.

Promote global learning experiences: Connect with classes all over the world and learn about other cultures. Students will learn about the world and discover we all have a lot in common. Along with Skype calls with guest speakers, this can be used as a springboard for project and problem-based learning where, together, students can learn the power of using their collective voice to make a positive impact in the world. Check out the Skype Collaborations page for more details.

Skype in the ClassroomBring in authentic audiences for presentations: Connect with another class over Skype to share student or group presentations. Students will learn from and give feedback to each other. Skype Collaborations are a great way to do this as a one-off call or longer-term project.

Incorporate Skype as part of a Breakout EDU clue: If your students enjoy participating in Breakout EDU activities, you can develop clues in your game that will lead to a Skype call with a person or class in other countries.

Check out the Skype Bingo: Download the Skype Bingo cards and use them with your classroom! You’ll be able to keep track some of the wonderful learning that occurs during a Skype call and keep kids engaged. After each call, ask your students to fill in the cards with new things they learned and places they “traveled.” You can use individual cards or one for the whole classroom. When you complete the Bingo card, it is up to you to decide on the prize.

Skype BingoOffer Skype as an option for students who are absent: For students with long-term illnesses, this not only helps them stay connected to the classroom community, it also builds empathy and compassion among their peers.

By creating global learning opportunities and connecting your students to the world using Skype, the impact on learning is endless. How will you leverage Skype to inspire your students this year?

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Teachers: Explore all the opportunities Skype in the Classroom has to offer and kick off the new year with a Skype activity. If you are new to Skype in the Classroom, why not schedule an introductory call with one of our Skype Guide live connections, or check out our Getting Started page.

Exciting News: Skype in the Classroom teamed up with Scholastic and they invite you to join in and celebrate Teach Graphix Week, January 23-27. Look out for more details coming shortly!

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?