The idea for this post actually started while sharing a basket of wings at Red Robins, but the idea behind it is not only resonating but amazing. Now this may sound a little nostalgic but, we are all experiencing it. As I was entering high school the most accessible method of being connected was to have a pager, this meant that you still had to find a telephone to return the call. While in high-school there came the more accessible and affordable, but monstrous cellular phones or car phones. As University and that came and went the internet became used more and more often not only by people looking up information, but as a form of communication.
Fast forward to, last year, well OK maybe not just last year. Now we have social media, 4G phones, video conferencing, and so much more. I know that there are many colleagues and educators that are intimidated by all of the technology and resources that are now available, however I openly welcome it.
I have joined twitter, facebook, started and maintain a blog, am constantly on my mobile. At home my laptop is on from when I get home to when I go to bed and my Ipad is never far. This all being true the most recent application that I have begun using will make not only learning, but communicating and interacting even more personal, interactive and FUN.
SKYPE – a great tool not allowing one to make calls around the world with other users, but one that allows to have video calls to interact face to face. My class and I first tried it out with the help of Lyn Hilt and some of her students helped to introduce my students new literacy unit of Homophones. The uses and applications of Skype are unlimited, granted if you are willing to try.
Thinking back to my experiences and my learning when I was a students, Skype would have been an amazing tool and piece of technology. To be able to learn about another community, not just from videos and endless amounts of reading, but to have been able to interact with someone from a specific community. To see them, to ask them questions and, well I am sure I could go on and on.
I am not going to lie or sugar coat the idea that using technology in the classroom takes time and effort, but think of it this way. As an educator you are increasing the mediums in which your students can learn and in the same respect you as an educator are also learning. I wish I had the same tools when I was learning. I can honestly say that I would have been a more engaged learner and probably have paid more attention to my classes.
For anyone interested in using Skype to connect and communicate, I can be reached at sram.socrates. I look forward to hearing from you and your students. Learning as a global community what a concept and enticing opportunity.