Today’s blog post comes from Kristy Griffin, a teacher from the UK, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) and Skype Master Teacher. She describes how Skype in the Classroom can make learning more meaningful for students, and how her participation in the Skype Master Teacher program has helped her develop as an educator.
Since introducing the wonders of Skype into my classroom about a year ago, I have been simply amazed at its impact upon the students that I teach. Like so many teachers in the UK, I had no idea of this amazing free resource which was at my fingertips and would enable me incite magic within the classroom, and enthuse and inspire my children.
Skype removes the walls of your classroom, allowing your students to connect with the world and become global citizens. The buzz within your classroom both before and after a Skype call is simply priceless. After my very first Skype call with my class, a Mystery Skype with a fellow educator just a few hundred miles away in the UK, I was hooked and left wondering how I had been unaware of this amazing resource for so long.
In addition to providing five exciting ways to bring the world into your classroom—through virtual field trips, Skype lessons, Skype collaborations, Mystery Skype and guest speakers—Skype in the Classroom also offers many different monthly campaigns and projects which further allow for global collaboration, empowered through the Skype technology.
Most recently my class were lucky enough to take part in Skype’s global celebration of this connected world via their annual Skype-a-Thon. This was simply a remarkable experience which I am sure my children will remember for years to come. Together we travelled over 29,000 virtual miles from our small market town in Derbyshire, England, across Europe and the USA, making global connections and learning about different cultures as we went. We are now getting ready to participate in the Oceans Campaign to celebrate World Oceans Day (8th June).
So, to the educators who, like me just a few months ago, have yet to open your classroom doors to the wonders of Skype in the Classroom, I urge you to waste no more time. Simply sign up to the Microsoft Educator Community and explore the wealth of opportunities just waiting for you and your class to explore. You and your newly pledged global citizens won’t look back!
Finally, I would like to invite all the MIE Experts who use Skype in the Classroom as part of their curriculum and are passionate about global collaboration to complete their self-nominations and join the Skype Master Teacher program. By joining this program, you will become a member of a family of like-minded educators with whom you can share ideas, best practices, collaborate on projects and help each other when needed.
What other Skype Master Teachers say about the Skype Master Teacher program:
“The Skype Master Teachers program is very special. It’s a small group of educators that are passionate about using Skype in their classroom. There’s a feeling of togetherness amongst us that motivates and encourages us, even though we have never met, to collaborate and learn from one another. It’s like having a group of friends that always support you!” Mary Collins, MIEE, Skype Master Teacher, Cyprus
“Joining the Skype Master Teacher program has been an amazing opportunity for me. I am inspired daily by how SMTs use Skype in their classrooms. I also feel that I am part of a supportive community of teachers with whom I can collaborate!” Mio Horio, MIEE, Skype Master Teacher, Japan
“The Skype master teacher community collects and connects motivated global educators willing to make a difference in education and one passion unites them all: Skype”- Koen Timmers, MIEE, Skype Master Teacher, Belgium
Teachers: Open your classroom doors to the wonders of Skype in the Classroom! Invite guest speakers, schedule a Skype lesson or virtual field trip to inspire your students. And don’t miss the opportunity to join the Skype Master Teacher program, an amazing global community of educators. Nominations are open from June 5th to August 5th!
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?