Welcome Newbies! Let's Skype!

Tonight was our annual dinner for new teachers. It a tradition. My principal invites leadership team members and new teachers to her home one evening in the summer to help us get to know our new school-family members and to help them feel connected to us. It's an evening with food and fun! We always play ice breaker games to learn little-known-facts about each other. Don't worry guys....I'm not telling. :)

This year, our traditional dinner stepped into the 21st century as we Skyped in one of leadership team members that was unable to attend. I am always surprised when people don't know about cool tools like Skype since it is free and can be used for personal communications. I call my brother in another state all the time on Skype.

Our media specialist, KK Cherney, appeared on the screen with enthusiastic greetings for all and then proceeded to ask for one on one introductions, which only required me to walk around for the built-in camera to get closer.

Skype is a tool we would like to use at school but it is blocked by security at this time. I wonder how many other school districts have it blocked? It seems like so many other educators have access to it. I wonder if there are ways to make it safer? I'm not sure, but it does seem to be the industry standard and if other people have it downloaded on their computer that is what they're going to want to use to connect.

One of our goals this year is to have classrooms all over the building collaborating globally with other kids around the world. Skype is a tool that could help us make those powerful connections. Has anyone else had this struggle? Does anyone have suggested solutions?

2 comments:

Hi Melanie,

What a great way to both introduce them to the technology, but also to set your expectations high. They all probably went home and spoke about it to their friends and family.

What we've run into has been more of the question of how to use it in the classroom on a regular basis. What I suggest doing is providing, or helping to find, experts for your teachers and students. That is one thing that our teachers struggled with. They often claimed not to be able to find useful people to bring in that matched their curriculum. I think that is where an educational technologist/media specialist comes in handy.

Thanks Patrick, It helps me to hear what you have struggled with in your school. Finding experts is a good idea. I had planned to find classrooms of similar ages to connect with, but finding experts that fit their social studies or science curriculum has got my mind on overdrive! Love it! Thanks!