28,731 teachers, from 190 countries, are already part of the Skype in the Classroom project. It’s a way to connect Skype’s free video services to your curriculum and teaching – and connecting with teachers and learners right around the world. And the team at Skype have just announced a new wave of partnerships to help schools bring outside experts into their classroom:
- Penguin Young Readers Group will connect authors with classrooms for discussions about books, reading and writing
- The New York Philharmonic offers live interaction with musicians and educators, beginning with an exploration of Billy the Kid through the lens of Aaron Copland’s 1939 ballet
- Peace One Day has a range of Global Education Resources which can help to inspire and educate students about the importance of peace in the modern world. Students can also connect with Peace One Day Founder, Jeremy Gilley and listen to his inspirational story.
- Save the Children and the Science Museum, London will have individual projects on Skype in the classroom by the end of the year
The Science Museum have already made some of their Punk Science resources available, in advance of their live activities later in the year. In the Penguin section, there are currently 6 different authors available to book class calls with. Here’s a typical profile for an author project page:
Err, it may not actually be a typical profile – the rest don’t start with “Generally, in talking to kids, I try to scare the bejeezus out of them.”
The beauty of these kinds of projects is that you already have the technology you need in the classroom to participate – because you just need some kind of webcam (even a simple laptop webcam will work), email and the Skype software. There’s no need for fancy video conferencing hardware or systems, or complicated booking systems.
If you do have a full video conferencing system, then you should also take a look at the PolyCom in education projects too – they have connections to a wide range of Australian projects, museums and organisations.