The power of Skype in the Classroom

A few weeks before Christmas, I started a project of Christmas Around the WorldOur project of Christmas around the world was put together to try and connect classes from around the world to learn about Christmas in different countries. We have had an overwhelming number of schools sign up and I know that there were many classes skyping with each other. Classes throughout the school had a chance to Skype and you can read about it here.

The project was linked with the Global Classroom project which had a voicethread that ran parallel with all the skyping for schools who couldn't connect due to time zones.

With some of the older classes we had an extra element to our skype as we first had to use our geography knowledge to ask questions to find out the location of the class. The children had iPads and Google maps at hand to help them narrow it down. Mystery Skype is a superb idea that really bring Geography to life. Sometimes I think there is a severe lack of coverage in knowledge of the world - countries, capital cities etc. The Mystery skype provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the world in a more interactive and engaging way. We asked questions such as:
  • Do you live in the Northern Hemisphere? 
  • Do you live in America? 
  • Is it snowing where you are? 
  • Do you border Mexico? 
 Eventually we narrowed it down to the state the school was in! Once we had worked out where we both were from we asked questions to learn about Christmas where they live. We asked questions like:
  •  When do you put your decorations up? 
  • What do you have for your Christmas dinner? 
  • What do you leave for Father Christmas? 
  • How do you celebrate Christmas in school? 
 We found out some great facts! Americans don't have mince pies or Christmas puddings. They usually put their tree up straight after Thanksgiving. Depending on the type of school they have they don't have a Christmas celebration in school but more of a holiday celebration where they also include other religions such as the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah. They leave Father Christmas cookies and milk and call him Santa. But we also found differences between the two schools we skyped even though they were from the same country. The school which skyped with Class 5B had a local TV station reporting on the impact Skype can have on Children's learning. They reported the story on the local news station,

Martinsville Teacher Uses Skype to Take Her Students Overseas - ABC13

 All the classes thoroughly enjoyed this experience and learnt a lot about the differences in traditions in America to ourselves. This only showed a glimpse of the possibilities of using Skype in the classroom! The Education Skype website has loads of ideas and lessons that can transport your class to anywhere in the world! Well worth a look!


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