Posts Tagged ‘Skype’

7 Tips for Transforming Your Classroom

October 1, 2012

Courtesy of esteemed educator and blogger David Truss:


Inquiry based learning is a key tenet of the Inquiry Hub. When students get to choose their own topics, with guidance and support from their teachers, peers and community members, these learners will produce thoughtful, rich and compelling answers.

By helping students connect, create and learn together, we will encourage them to look outside of their box and seek a world of potential.

* Transforming Classrooms with Inquiry: It starts with educators asking really good questions. There are a lot of resources on Inquiry Learning, here is a great list of resources to get teachers started. The Calgary Science School’s Exemplary Learning and Teaching posters are excellent examples of the resources shared in the list. Which of these resources will help you develop more inquiry based lessons?


Neon Mic' by fensterbme on flickr

When students explore their interests in-depth, they will often discover insights worth sharing with others. At the Inquiry Hub, we believe that an integral part of learning is the ability to share what you’ve learned with others in meaningful ways.

* Transforming Classrooms with Voice: Be it a presentation to a small group, the entire school, the local community or online (with the world), work with students to craft their message in thoughtful, well represented ways. How can you use recording devices, now available on almost every phone and on every computer, to get students prepared for presentations or to get students to share their work publicly?


An important skill to learn is how to ‘write to a specific audience’, and there is no better way to promote this than to give learners a legitimate audience for their work.

* Transforming Classrooms with Audience: Through the use of blogs, wikis, digital portfolios and social media tools, you can invite the world to be a participatory audience in the work that our students do. An Authentic Audience Matters! What can you do to increase the audience of your students’ work beyond the class or just you, their teacher?


Collaboration is a learned skill that is essential in today’s world. Our goal will be to have students collaborate on projects that matter, in many different communities.

* Transforming Classrooms with Community: Provide opportunities for projects to extend beyond age-group peers to include younger and/or older students, parents and teachers, community members, subject area experts, and students from around the globe. Who do you know in your community (or your online network) that can share their expertise with your students?


“In a learning organization, leaders are designers, stewards, and teachers.” ~Peter Senge
At the Inquiry Hub, students will be provided with many opportunities to be designers, stewards and teachers. We believe that every student has the potential to lead!

* Transforming Classrooms with Leadership: Buddy up with students in younger classes. Create activities and events which truly allow students to ‘run the show’. Here is a resource I developed for teaching leadership and developing a school-wide leadership program. How can you create more authentic leadership opportunities for your students in your class?


We can learn a lot from (and within) play. Play promotes discovery and invites the idea that we can have fun learning, even from our mistakes. From the MIT Media Lab’s advocation of ‘Lifelong Kindergarten‘ to Google’s promotion of employees getting 20% of their work week dedicated to personal-interest projects, it is quickly becoming apparent that ingenuity and creativity are both sparked from an environment that incorporates play into learning.

* Transforming Classrooms with Play: There is a lot of pedagogy in play (at all ages). Do we provide “gaps” in our teaching? Time and spaces where students can be creative beyond the scope of the content we are teaching? Watch this interesting slide show, think about how ‘Game design’ invites creative play, and question how you can embed some of these ideas into your lessons?


A key principle in the new learning theory, Connectivism,  considers networks to be a central metaphor for learning. The theory suggests that ‘learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions’. The COL Inquiry Hub will use a hybrid model that blends classroom, community and online experiences, and so students will be exposed to a multitude of learning networks.

* Transforming Classrooms with Networks: Skype is a great tool to bring classes from across the country or across the globe together. Who can you connect your class with, and what tools can you use, beyond Skype, to connect the learning that’s happening in other physical and digital learning spaces?

For more wonderful material and advice from David Truss please follow this link.

Click on the link to read Top Ten Funny Excuses For Being Late To School

Click on the link to read Why Spelling is Important

Click on the link to read 2 Kids Outsmart 3 Robbers

Click on the link to read the 100 Skills Parents Should Teach Their Children

50 Ways To Use Skype In Your Classroom

September 17, 2012

Courtesy of Below is the first 17 suggestions:

  1. Meet with other classrooms:
    One of the most common projects educators utilize Skype for is setting up exchanges with classrooms around the world, usually for cultural exchange purposes or working together on a common assignment. The program’s official site provides some great opportunities to meet up with like-minded teachers and students sharing the same goals.
  2. Practice a foreign language:
    Connect with individual learners or classrooms hailing from a different native tongue can use a Skype collaboration to sharpen grammar and pronunciation skills through conversation.
  3. Peace One Day:
    Far beyond classroom collaborations, the Peace One Day initiative teamed up with Skype itself and educators across the globe to teach kids about the importance of ending violence, war, and other social ills.
  4. Around the World with 80 Schools:
    This challenge asks participating schools to hook up with 80 worldwide and report back what all they’ve learned about other cultures and languages.
  5. Talk about the weather:
    One popular Skype project sees participants from different regions make note of the weather patterns for a specified period of time, with students comparing and contrasting the results.
  6. Collaborative poetry:
    In this assignment, connected classrooms pen poetic pieces together and share them via video conferencing.
  7. Practice interviews:
    The education system frequently receives criticism for its failure to prepare students for the real world, but using Skype to help them run through mock-up interviews with each other, teachers, counselors, or professionals will help grant them an advantage.
  8. Gaming:
    Merge the educational power of gaming with the connectivity of Skype for interactive (maybe even international!) role-playing and other competitive delights that educate and engage in equal measure.
  9. Hold a contest:
    Challenge other classrooms to a competition circling around any subject or skill imaginable, and work out a suitable prize ahead of time.
  10. Hold a debate:
    Similarly, Skype can also be used as a great forum for hosting formal and informal debates to help students with their critical thinking and research skills.
  11. Make beautiful music together:
    Build a band comprised of musicians worldwide, who play and practice together over video — maybe even hold digital performances, too!
  12. Who are the people in your neighborhood?:
    All the press about classrooms meeting with one another tend to veer towards the international, but some schools like to stay local. These two Tampa Bay-area kindergartens met regularly via Skype, sharing their current assignments with new friends only 10 miles away.
  13. Highlight time differences:
    But there is something to be said about global exchanges, too, as it provides some insight into the differences between time zones — great for geography classes!
  14. Combine with augmented reality:
    Both at home and in school, Skype provides a communication tool for collaborative augmented reality projects using the PSP and other devices.
  15. Mystery call:
    Link up to a classroom in another region and have them offer up hints as to their true location, challenging students to guess where in the world their new friends live.
  16. Each student works a specific job during calls:
    Divvy up responsibilities during Skype calls so every student feels engaged with the conversation, not just passive participants watching talks pan out. Assign bloggers, recorders, mappers, and any other tasks relevant to the meeting and project.
  17. Play Battleship:
    The classic board game Battleship offers up lessons in basic X and Y axes; plus it’s also a lot of fun. Compete against other classrooms for an educational good time.

Click here to read the rest.

Click on the link to read Top 10 Educational i-Pad Apps

Click on the link to read Top 10 Math Apps for Children

Click on the link to read The Pros and Cons of iPads in the Classroom

Police Want Parents to Spy on Their Kids Online

May 29, 2011

So bad is the problem of stalking paedophiles preying on children, that Police are advising parents to spy on their kids’ online activities.  In a perfect world parents should resist spying on their kids, as their trust is essential for a close relationship.  However, there are exceptions to this rule.  The rise of evil paedophiles who prey on naive and impressionable children, may present parents with little choice.

Parents should keep a regular and close eye on what their children do online, say Scottish police, especially on who they are chatting to.

The Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) is concerned about the growing threat of grooming and the dangers of paedophilia. The Scotsman reports that since Operation Embark was set up to tackle the problem two years ago, 18 people have been convicted of online grooming and sentenced to a combined 24 years in prison, 23 years of probation, and 840 hours of community service.

Detective Inspector Eamonn Keane, who heads the SCDEA’s e-crime unit, said: “There’s various software to assist parents in helping them keep their children safe on the internet, which can help identify their computer history.

“You can set your governance tools to search for key words, so if there’s been sexually explicit behaviour from a 13 or 14-year-old it would pick up on that. You can apply parental controls on the internet in the same way as you can on digital TV channels, blocking unsuitable websites.”

Police say parents should be informal friends on Facebook and other social networks, so that they are in the loop of conversations that their kids are having.

Parents should also educate themselves about the social networks their kids are using – how they work, what functionality they offer and how often they are being used.

Social networks do not only mean Facebook – children can correspond with strangers on Bebo, YouTube, gaming networks, Twitter, MySpace and forums, as well as chat services like MSN Messenger, Skype, AOL Chat and Google Talk.

Parents: Please share this video with your children.  I have posted it before, but the clip’s importance and its powerful message will see me post it on occasion.

Skype in the Classroom

April 1, 2011

I haven’t really used Skype in the classroom before.  It’s something I’ve wanted to do for ages.  I stumbled along this article today that has made me want to introduce Skype to my class even more!

The Skype video chat service has long been used by teachers to connect students with the world outside their reach, from guest speakers to partner classrooms located around the globe. And with today’s launch of “Skype in the classroom,” providing that service has become an official goal of the company, and teachers can now more easily get help and advice from other educators to expand their students’ worldview.

According the the company’s press release, “in the classroom” is “a place for teachers to connect with each other, find partner classes and share inspiration.” It allows teachers to create their own profiles, through which they can describe their classes and their teaching goals. This feature also enables teachers to discuss practices with other educators, and to learn techniques they might not otherwise have access to.

Another feature of “in the classroom” is projects. Teachers can create projects, which are posted on the Skype website. These projects are viewable to any of the other teacher who use the “in the classroom” service. Teachers from anywhere in the world can collaborate on these projects with other teachers, and learn from those who have tried similar projects.

The last primary aspect of “Skype in the classroom” is its resources section. According to Skype, its resources list is stacked with “videos, links and tips” for teachers. Teachers can add additional resources in order to “create a huge, sharable library of teaching ideas.”

Have you used Skype in your classrooms?  What was the experience like?  How can it be best used for maximum educational effect?

%d bloggers like this: