Last week, Adam Dugger, (a colleague and TEAM-mate) Karen Kliegman (my research co-teacher and one of our TEAM mentors) and I had an incredible experience using SKYPE to connect with a class in South Carolina. Adam's 4th grade class is involved with a Native American research project that has participants from across the country. I took this opportunity to use SKYPE to connect with one of the other classes participating in the project. The ultimate use of SKYPE is to have a vehicle for our students to share what they learned with another class and then to compare how the Native Americans in our region may be similar or different to the Native Americans in another region. We decided to test it out before hand with a little "meet and greet" for the students on both ends.
Prior to the video conference, JoNelle, the computer teacher of the other school, and I spoke several times, making sure the equipment worked. All that was necessary was a webcam, microphone and a computer with Internet access. Karen and I prepped the students by having them brainstorm what they wanted to know about the other students. We also discussed video conferencing etiquette, such as keeping their bodies calm and their voices quiet, unless they were asking or answering a question.
At last, the morning arrived and with the exception of a video delay on their side, all went fabulously! I am looking forward to creating more opportunities for the students in my school to connect with others, whether it be in the school down road or across the world. The possibilities are endless!