It wasn't so long ago, relatively speaking, that the only real way for school children to gain a first-hand appreciation and understanding of foreign cultures, customs and (to an extent) languages was for their school to take part in the exchange student programme. Nowadays, technology empowers us to speak with people on the other side of the planet through video calls that facilitate conversations without boundaries, and in an educational context, can provide students access to people, organisations, places and events that they would previously only have been able to experience through their textbooks.
Earlier this month saw a global celebration of this new, connected world, via the Skype-athon.
Thousands of educators, guest speakers and students travelled the world December 3 and 4 to celebrate learning without borders, holding calls all over the world. By calculating the 'virtual miles', the connections made during the Skype-athon, over 3 million miles were covered by Skype.
— Skype Classroom (@SkypeClassroom) December 4, 2015
In this video, Anthony Salcito reflects on the event, and looks at some of the calls that brought people together to learn from each other, and connect as humans:
While the Skype-athon may have taken place on December 3th-4th there are still three ways that you can use Skype in the Classroom all year around:
Play Mystery Skype
The global guessing game that gets kids learning about geography, culture, and the similarities and differences of how children live all over the world.
Talk with a Guest Speaker
Find hundreds of volunteer guest speakers from around the world on a wide variety of subjects.
Take a Virtual Field Trip
Take your students on an adventure without leaving the classroom