Skype: a powerful tool that brings the world into the classroom

Today’s blog post is brought to you by Nam Ngo Thanh, a primary school teacher in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Nam has been recognized as a Microsoft Master Trainer, Skype Master Teacher and Microsoft Teacher Ambassador. He works passionately to develop creative approaches to deliver quality education to his students in ways that inspire them to learn. Nam shares his story about Skype in the Classroom—one of his favorite educational tools—and how his selection as a Skype Master Teacher has helped him develop professionally.

Technology in my classroom

The biggest challenge I have ever faced as a teacher was learning how to apply technology in my classroom. Eight years ago, I was afraid of integrating technology, although I knew that it would enhance the effectiveness of my lessons. I was fortunate to be selected as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE), joining an amazing global teaching community.

Being part of that group allowed me to explore different technological tools, and soon I discovered that one of the most powerful ones was Skype. I realized that Skype can break down classroom walls and allow my students to collaborate with peers from around the world to explore issues they really care about. The power of Skype lies in the fact that it bridges the gap between the classroom and real-life experiences.

Skype in my classroom

I first used Skype in my classroom when to organize a global project called “We are little pioneers.” I wanted to give my students the opportunity to not only learn about Vietnam, but to connect and learn from their peers in other countries, and compare experiences. Through this project we connected with classrooms in the Philippines, Serbia, Israel, India and more. Our wonderful learning experience showed me the potential and power of Skype in the Classroom and encouraged me to start exploring more of the amazing world of Skype.

As soon as I realized that Skype activities could encourage curiosity, enhance motivation and cultivate an enthusiasm for research, I started looking for more ways to use Skype in my classroom. We started not only collaborating with other classrooms to learn about different cultures and their daily habits, but inviting experts to share their knowledge and expertise with us.

Our favorite Skype activity is the virtual field trip. We can’t often participate in learning activities outside the classroom for many reasons, such as bad weather, geographical distances, budget limitations, etc. But Skype virtual field trips have allowed us to travel to National Parks in the United States or visit a turtle hospital—without leaving the classroom. These experiences have transformed my students into global citizens.

The Skype Master Teacher program

Becoming a Skype Master Teacher was an honor for me. It gave me the opportunity to learn, share and collaborate with amazing educators from around the world who are passionate about teaching and inspiring students by breaking down “the walls” of their classrooms. Being part of this global, like-minded group has helped me develop as an educator and taught me to use Skype in ways that can literally change students’ lives and their understanding of the world I would like to invite teachers who have been selected as Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts, or have begun the application process, to complete the self-nomination steps and join this program. The self-nominations for the Skype Master Teacher program are open until August 5, 2017.

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Teachers: Open your classroom doors to the wonders of Skype in the Classroom! Invite guest speakers, schedule a Skype lesson or embark on a 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 until August 5, 2017!

Parents: Check out our guide for parents—and why not ask your school to get involved with Skype in the Classroom, so your kids can experience the world live from their classrooms?