Skype gives students and teachers the ability to connect with the outside world without leaving the classroom, allowing them to meet face-to-face with the subjects of their learning or with students from other cultures. Simply connecting with another classroom provides an educational experience !
“This has to be one of the most powerful experiences for students as Skype enables students to connect, collaborate, and communicate with other students across the globe,” writes education expert Angela Maiers. “It creates an opportunity for students to learn from each other, to have authentic audiences for their work, and to meet others who can further their learning.”
My most favourite moments during our Skype meetings with 4 partner schools in Europe: 1.When we greeted our french pen pals in french, and they replied in…greek!! 2. When we sang to all our pen friends beautiful greek songs by the famous greek music composer Mikis Theodorakis – lyrics by George Seferis, one of the most important greek poets and a Nobel laureate! 3. Every time, we all danced or sang together to the same music!
4. When we saw our letters and projects, on the…other side, in our pen pals’ hands!! And we showed them theirs… 5. The fact that, we had the chance, in each new meeting ,to share a lesson with another class – about 100 students each time TOGETHER !! PRECIOUS! By the way, it is now that I realise, how important our new laptop has been for my school! A school , with practically no prior access to the internet for its students(!!) , until this school year, thanks to our school bazaar money!
Another favourite moment during the two days Skype meeting with 4 different teachers ,in 4 different schools and countries with a total of more than 350 students involved (!!!) : when one of our pen pals in Poland, asked to talk to her friend in Greece but, she soon realised that…her pen pal had gone to Germany with her family to settle and find jobs due to the terrible greek financial crisis!! It was a sad moment for me because , I hate it when my students HAVE to live abroad, leaving friends and family behind, bacause of unemployment!….This country, deserves better!
So, what would be advantages of using skype in class with students:
– use English in real time
– culture sharing
– engagament in the learning process
– self confidence – enthusiasm
– introduction of webtools-not really in my school, where there is not a computers lab.
– understand timezones (correlation with other subjects)
Are there any disadvantages, well YES:
– difference in timezones
– problems with technology
But, if there is a will there is a way, right?