Learning about the power of goal setting from an Olympian via Skype

A few weeks ago, Skype in the Classroom partnered with Classroom Champions to celebrate International Women’s Day 2017. Female Olympians and Paralympians connected via Skype with classrooms around the world and inspired around 1,000 students with their stories to dream big and set goals in their lives.

Classroom Champions in an international education and mentoring non-profit that connects the world’s best athletes to classrooms for conversations around the skills and mindsets of success. Their organization works with teachers to help students develop interpersonal skills such as goal setting, perseverance, healthy living, teamwork, and leadership.

We met with Valerie Anglemyer, a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and Skype Master Teacher from Indiana, US and discussed  her students’ experience.

Olympian Kerry Simmonds talks to students over SkypeTell us about your experience connecting with Olympians on International Women’s Day.

I saw the opportunity for a connection with a female athlete on the Microsoft Educator Community and immediately looked at my calendar to find a day and time that I could make our connection work. Our class has been studying the Sustainable Development Goals and the focus on International Women’s Day goes along with Goal 5: Gender Equality, which worked well within our curriculum. In addition to pairing nicely with our learning, connecting with inspirational experts is always uplifting for my students, so this opportunity was perfect for us!

After receiving a confirmation from Classroom Champions, I extended the opportunity to other teachers in our school so they could have their students join the call as well. All together, we had 8 classes (over 200 students) join us in a large group instruction room to hear Olympian Kerry Simmonds speak about her journey to the Olympics and the power of goal setting.

For many of the students who are not in my class, this was their first Skype experience. They were engaged and excited during the call and were begging their teachers for more after we finished!

Olympian Kerry Simmonds shows her Olympic medal to students over SkypeWhat impact did the Skype call have on your students?

Kerry’s message was all about goal setting and dreaming big. She spoke candidly about her experience in Rio and her path to the Olympics. She fielded questions from students for about 15 minutes and continued to emphasize important life skills like persisting through challenges, setting goals, reflecting, and surrounding yourself with positive people.

This Skype call enabled my students to connect with someone who is a positive role model. Any time I can break down my classroom walls through online connections, my students get a glimpse of other cultures, beliefs, and locations. This call allowed my students to connect with an elite athlete whose message was all about positivity, dreaming big, and setting goals. These lessons will be remembered long after this call ended, and have positively impacted my classroom.

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Teachers: Classroom Champions are currently accepting applications for their 2017-18 cohort of teachers. In their core program, they match Olympians and Paralympians with classrooms for a year-long mentoring relationship conducted through video lessons, video chats, and an internal online network. Find more information here.

Also, explore all the opportunities Skype in the Classroom offers: invite guest speakers, schedule a Skype lesson or virtual field trip to inspire your students. 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?

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?