I am so excited! As mentioned in a previoius blog I want to use Skype to create WebPals with students from another classroom in another part of the world. I have had this idea for at least 5 years (I know it is not original, but it is not common place yet, either) and have been stuck on finding another classroom with the right technology. I even got my district to give me special access to Skype (of course the site is blocked to everyone else).
One of the first blogs I read was an article on Sue Waters’ Edublog about tips for Skype users Quick start tips for new Skype users.
I asked about connecting with others and she created a part of her blog just for this: Skype other classrooms
She even tags me in this article! I can’t believe how fast my question turned into a resource on one of the leading education blogs! I am also so excited to see the WebPals idea about to become a reality for my students!
WebPals are like the traditional pen pals, except the communication is in a real-time dialogue using webcams. I wrote my Master’s project on this idea with the thesis that discrimination would decrease and tolerance would increase if students could develop friendships with others who are different from themselves culturally, ethnically, racially, and/or socio-economically.
I am trying to avoid expensive videoconferencing software and equipment by using simple webcams, microphones, and Skype. Skype is a free software that allows free video phone calls to other Skype users anywhere in the world. The biggest problem I have had is locating another classroom in another part of the world to communicate with. I have tried to make contacts through Epals but never receive responses. I am also guessing that many of my target countries are not yet technologically ready.
I did find a useful blog from a teacher using Skype Quick start tips for new Skype users and shared my ideas and she is going to set up a blog looking to connect classrooms. That was probably the most exciting and practical thing I have learned from this class so far.
As mentioned in Thing 2, I tend to try to do many things at once and this project is one that I really want to use in my class but gets lost in the shuffle of my busy life.