Breaking down the walls of schools has been an idea that I often did when I was still in the classroom. Some of the ideas included, Quadblogging, Collaborative book blogging, Mystery Skype Session, Skype an Author, Book Talks via Google Hangouts and math checks via Skype. These are some of the many things that I tried to do to help motivate my students and teach them more about being a digital citizen.
I have to admit when I was doing these projects, there wasn’t this great Skype in the Classroom Website with all kinds of great ideas. Some of the ideas I mentioned above are on the list of 50 Activites to do with Skype. I would like to work with several teachers on meeting classrooms outside the walls of their own building. Two tools that come to mind right away are Skype and Flipgrid. Thinking of the teachers at the elementary level, a project like this would be intimidating to them and would need a great deal of help to set it up, run it and evaluate how it went afterward. This is why I love my job because I can bring something like this into their rooms and feel confident in doing so. Here is a great blog post on different ideas for Skype.
ISTE Student Standards
Planning is where I would need to start to get teachers hooked into a lesson like this one. I would break out the ISTE Standards and stress that my goal would be to look at students being Digital Citizens, Creative Communicator, and Global Collaborator. Anytime students are on Skype, one of the first lessons happens before the actual meeting. Students need to know that they are being seen, hear and will have their action remembered. They also need to make sure that they have questions that need to be answered that will provide more information. I will make sure that the students understand that the microphone we are using picks up the entire room. If they are creating a project to share, students must be sure that it has clear objects and they used a variety of digital objects. Finally, by breaking down the walls, students will become Global Collaborators. My goal would be to connect different classrooms to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.
My goal for the teachers is to introduce the idea of using Skype to communicate with another classroom. Because we have four elementary buildings, my hope is to pick two classrooms in different buildings. This will allow both classrooms to experience each other, talk to each other and share ideas on what is going on in their classroom. I would available in one room for the first session and would try and see if another coach would be able to be in the other room. I am seeing teachers have “buddy” classes in their own building but not outside the walls. Starting small might spark an interest in going outside the district. The other hope is that teachers like to talk and might want to set something up after hearing the idea.
My key to learning would be for students to think about the ideas they are saying. We would write it down so that could rehearse and make it sound like they are really smart. The teachers would be able to provide formative feedback on how the students acted, could they be heard using a loud voice and how did they act during the time of collaboration.
In the middle school, I’m thinking about social studies teachers to try Mystery Skyping, language arts teachers to try their poetry slam via Skype or math teachers to try stumping another classroom with a proof they created in geometry. Another idea for the middle school or high school would be to look at the issues in the world is experiencing and try and communicate with other classrooms to generate ideas. Here is a great example of a top-notch idea a teacher came up within 2017-2018 school year.
Heick, T. (2018, August 03). 50 Ideas For Using Skype In Your Classroom. Retrieved October 18, 2018, from https://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/50-ideas-for-using-skype-in-your-classroom/
Morris, K. (2018, May 24). CONNECT WITH THE WORLD THROUGH SKYPE IN THE CLASSROOM. Retrieved October 18, 2018, from https://www.theedublogger.com/skype/
Team, S. (2017, December 18). Engaging 21st-century learners with Skype in the Classroom. Retrieved October 18, 2018, from https://blogs.skype.com/skype-classroom/2017/09/05/engaging-21st-century-learners-with-skype-in-the-classroom/