Have I started every post with, "I love ___" ? Even if I have, I love Skype!
I first learned about it from a family friend. For Christmas after my toddler was born, she gave my sister, my mom, and I web cams and a suggestion that we try Skype. I have an account that I use at home for friends and family. My toddler loves to call his Aunt Colee. They talk regularly. He hasn't enjoyed calling Mia and Papa Scott as much because they have a slow internet connection and the picture isn't very clear.
I then read about Skype in educational settings. I think it was a posting at Gifted Education 2.0 by Ginger Lewman. I saw a video of primary age kids using Skype and Google Docs to write collaboratively with kids from classrooms across the globe. So cool! The kids had meetings to discuss their ideas via Skype.
I loaded it onto my desktop, but have only called Ginger to make a connection when I first discovered Gifted Education 2.0. I've so wanted to try it, but don't have a good reason to do so. I'm going to think about ways to work it into my GT staff development so teachers will see the possibilities.
How could you do this in a classroom? Any project could be done collaboratively. Finding a classroom with which to partner seems to be the biggest hurdle. Maybe we should start within the district. I see the biggest potential in research - either collaborating on a joint project or for gathering data. Librarians fit into this research piece. I also love the idea of connecting with an author via Skype, but that might be tougher.
Once our budgets open up and I can get a new computer, I'll be open to Skyping with anyone who wants to try it!
Here's a great video by Cool Cat Teacher on getting started using Skype in the classroom:
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