The following article was originally posted on the main Microsoft in Education blog, and looks back at last month's hugely successful #Skypeathon. Many of our #MIEExperts here in the UK took part in the global event, with Paul 'Lanny' Watkins and his class at Ysgol Bae Baglan completing a massive 361,947 miles!
— Paul 'Lanny' Watkins (@Lanny_Watkins) December 1, 2016
Read the full report from the Microsoft in Education team below.
An incredible journey: Skype-a-Thon participants travel the world for life-changing learning
When we connect classrooms, we can change the world. And thanks to last week’s Global Education Skype-a-Thon, teachers and students from over 75 countries were empowered to do just that, traveling nearly 10 million miles (for perspective, that’s enough to circle the earth 394 times!) to celebrate global learning and diversity.
For 48 hours, Skype-a-Thon participants experienced global learning with through a variety of activities — from talking with an expert guest speaker or taking a virtual field trip, to playing #Mystery Skype, a global guessing game that teaches kids geography, promotes cultural understanding and broadens perspectives. And they shared their experiences with the world, including what their students learned and how far they travelled on social media.
Here’s just a small peek into this incredible journey:
A life-changing experience
Students participating in this unique event shared a common reaction: sheer delight at the opportunity to make new friends, learn about new cultures and, of course, play games like Kahoot! and Mystery Skype. Many of these students had experiences of a lifetime through our 40+ Field Trip Partners, visiting museums, national parks, zoos, aquariums, castles, research centers and more. The students also connected with explorers, authors, scientists, toy makers and game designers, leading many to call the 2016 Skype-a-thon their “favorite day of class this year!”
Several schools hosted a Skype-a-Thon sleepover, engaging students in rolling calls throughout the day and evening to contribute more miles. Some schools even created passport books which were stamped each time students crossed a border.
One of our favorite reactions came from student Nathan E., who keenly observed that, “Being able to converse so normally with someone so important was truly inspirational. It’s good to know that hard work can get you anywhere in life.”
Watch the behind the scenes video from this year’s Skype-a-thon
“Microsoft Skype-a-Thon is the symbol of global learning,” says Rivas, “since it lets educators and students worldwide break traditional classroom barriers that have limited skills development and engagement.”
And Mary Collins of the Grammar Junior School in Cypress reflects, “We talk about the benefits of using Skype in the Classroom with our students, but chances are we haven’t yet realized the effect it has on us as educators. Skype in the Classroom incorporates the 21st century learning skills, but it’s a learning activity that makes us grow, too.”
Check out at the action on Twitter here.
The journey continues
The Global Education Skype-a-Thon may only happen once a year, but the opportunity for educators to connect their students to the bigger world with Skype in the Classroom is available every day, with activities that broaden students’ minds, increase their confidence and cultural awareness and reduce bias to bring the world together. And just as important, Microsoft provides all the tools and support you’ll need to begin your own Skype in the Classroom journey.
To learn more about how you can join this global movement, just go to the Skype in the Classroom overview, watch the video and click “Get Started.” We look forward to seeing you next year, for Skype-a-Thon 2017!