Returning this month is the global event that brings together students and educators from all over the world, as they connect to open their hearts, and open their minds.
The Microsoft in Education Skype-a-Thon is back, and we encourage young learners and educators to join us on November 28th-29th, as we aim to travel 10,000,000 virtual miles, connecting nearly half a million students around the world! During the Skype-a-Thon itself, we'll be hosting a number of students and teachers in our London offices, where we will be connecting them to schools around the world, and running a STEM workshop.
Why should UK schools take part?
We spoke to some MIEExperts here in UK, for whom Skype in the Classroom is a big part of their teaching approach, to find out from them first-hand what it is about the Skype-a-Thon that inspires their students, and how their experiences are having far-reaching impacts into teaching and learning at their schools...
MIEExpert and MIE Trainer Phoebe Rowbottom - Ark Swift Primary Academy:
"My school is in a deprived area; most of the students I teach have never left our borough, let alone our city. Skype in the Classroom allows them to do just that! We recently did a Skype Virtual Field Trip with deep sea divers and most of my students have never even seen the ocean, so they were captivated by the lesson and talked about it for weeks afterwards! A girl in my class even told me that she wants to be a marine biologist when she’s older so that virtual field trip has potentially started her on a career path which is very exciting.
Experiences like this are why I’m excited about the Skype-a-Thon; these Skype experiences could be the very thing that inspires my students to discover a new interest and learn more about it. Maybe with direct exposure to other countries my students will actually want to see those places in person and broaden their horizons. Perhaps talking to that zoologist will inspire them to take up a career in zoology! I highly encourage everyone to participate in this year's Skype-a-Thon - your students will get so much out of it!"
MIEExpert and Skype Master Teacher Paul Watkins - Ysgol Bae Baglan:
"Skype-a-Thon is the most exciting event on my calendar! Why? Because of what my pupils and I get to see, where we are able to travel to and most importantly the things we learn. For some people their only experience of using Skype is to speak to friends and family. For a teacher, Skype is one of the most powerful tools they can ever introduce to their classroom.
My pupils have travelled to all corners of the planet (including the ocean floor) through the amazing Virtual Field Trips, been inspired by Guest Speakers from all walks of life, collaborated with classes from across the globe, forging lasting friendships on the way and developed essential transferable life skills though playing the amazing Mystery Skype. Why not use Skype-a-Thon this year as an opportunity to open the hearts and minds of your pupils and kick start the use of Skype in your class to enhance, enrich and inspire – go on, be brave and make a connection…
You won’t regret it!"
How to join the Skype-a-Thon
There are so many ways to connect and learn during this year’s Skype-a-Thon, from playing Mystery Skype or visiting a classroom, to taking a Virtual Field Trip, or hearing from a Guest Speaker. Choose from the activities below and schedule as many calls as you can via the Microsoft Educator Community, between November 28 and 29 to connect your students to the world!
Virtual Field Trips
Take your students for an adventure without leaving the classroom. Visit our experts out in the field all around the world!
Skype lessons are live learning activities given by experts via Skype around a specific topic or theme.
Connect with other educators around the world and collaborate on a specific project. For example, if you’re teaching biomes, why not Skype with another class who lives in a very different biome to you?
The global guessing game that gets kids learning about geography, culture, and the similarities and differences of how children live all over the world.
Find hundreds of volunteer guest speakers from around the world on a wide variety of subjects.
The Microsoft Educator Community has a whole page dedicated to the upcoming Skype-a-Thon, containing more information about all of the different ways you can get involved, how to plan your itinerary and log your miles, as well as a social media toolkit to help you spread the work and let others know that you're taking part.
Where will your classroom travel, who will you meet? On November 28-29, share your experiences, miles travelled, and what your students learned from their new friends. Get creative and share photos on Twitter showing the virtual distance you travelled. Tag #skypeathon so that everyone can see how your call contributed to this year's goal of 10 million virtual miles!