Getting Started with Skype Info-Flyer

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Feb 202012

“Getting Started with Skype” Info- Flyer.

The guide encompasses step-by-step help from Skype projects, preparing your students for a Skype call, transforming a Skype call into a Learning call to student job responsibilities before, during and after the actual call.

Get Started With Skype

Jan 092012
sharing-guinipigs-by ryancr

Teachers all over the world are using Skype in innovative ways. We will not hear and learn from most of these classroom learning opportunities.

Part of the reason I created this site, was not only for educators to find and connect with a potential Skype partner, but also give a space to teachers to document, reflect and share their skyping experience in the classroom.

Some AMAZING teachers are taking the time though to share their experiences and ideas with others to learn and grown from. Becoming part of a cycle which encompasses learning>experiencing>amplifying> sharing, is PART of 21st century learning (or simply the way we learn in the present!)

image licensed under CC by Ryancr-




Dec 042010

Our 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Z, and I are planning to upgrade a Social Studies unit about the American Revolution.

We want to expand the following content and exceed the standards traditionally taught in the textbook unit:

  • Identify and explain significant events leading up to the American Revolution.
  • Identify significant individuals and groups who played a role in the American Revolution.
  • Explain the significance of historical documents including key political concepts, origins of these concepts, and their role in American independence.
  • Examine and explain the changing roles and impact of significant women during the American Revolution.
  • Examine and compare major battles and military campaigns of the American Revolution.
  • Identify the contributions of foreign alliances and individuals to the outcome of the Revolution.
  • Explain economic, military, and political factors which led to the end of the Revolutionary War.
  • Evaluate the personal and political hardships resulting from the American Revolution.
  • Discuss the impact and significance of land policies developed under the Confederation Congress (Northwest Ordinance of 1787).
  • Examine the significance of the Constitution including its key political concepts, origins of those concepts, and their role in American democracy.

Our overall goals beyond the curriculum content is:

  • Action research- allow teachers to upgrade a traditionally taught unit
  • Allow teachers to learn, plan, work and teach collaboratively
  • Empower student learners by giving them ownership
  • Take learning off the pages of the book
  • Allow students to reinforce 21st century skills: communicate, collaborate, connect & critical thinking
  • Expose and reinforce 21st century literacies: basic (reading & writing), media, network, global, information
  • Find new forms of teaching, learning and assessment
  • Students becoming teachers
  • Bring in multiple perspectives
  • Reflection on upgrade
  • Share our learning with a global audience


  • Collaboration between 5th grade classes
  • Skype calls group2group, buddy2buddy
  • Debates via Skype- Role playing
  • Facebook page (off line) for founding fathers/King of England/colonists
  • Twitter-Students chronologically share what they learn (from protagonist perspective)
  • Interviews with subject area experts (university professors, authors, from England)
  • Social Production
  • Teachers teaching lessons to both classes/ groups


We are looking for the “perfect” collaboration partner(s) to help us “pioneer” learning about the American Revolution in the 21st Century. We are requesting the following criteria of our potential partner teacher/class:

  • 5th grade currently studying “American Revolution” in their curriculum
  • Teacher and students able to use Google Apps for collaboration
  • Teacher and students able to skype
  • Teacher and students willing and able to test new tools and methods
  • Tentative timeline for collaboration: January/February 2011
  • Committed to explore new forms of teaching and learning- Willing to test, revise, assess and share new forms
  • Dependable, detailed oriented, deadline aware, flexible

If you match our “Wanted- Poster” and are interested to partner with us on this adventure, please contact me to discuss possible collaboration.

Assessment of Learning via Skype

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Nov 212010

Skyping with students is great! They are learning…There is no doubt in my mind…!

Skyping Hub- Learning Hub

  • I know…I see motivation in their eyes… I feel excitement in the air…I hear them say: “How cool”, “That was awesome” or “When are we skyping again?”.
  • I know… all about the different skills students are exposed to and are practicing while skyping.
  • I know… that I am helping them learn differently than from a textbook.
  • I know… that I am preparing them for a work environment where they are expected to collaborate with colleagues and teams who do not live in the same country, nor continent and operate in a different time zone.
  • I know… that I am exposing them to a world, people and cultures beyond their horizon.
  • I know… that I am broadening their perspectives, tolerance and for someone who is different

…but… what about formal assessment and documentation of this kind of learning.

I enjoy helping other teachers get excited and comfortable using Skype as a tool to connect with other classrooms or experts around the world. I want to make it explicit, once again, that it is NOT about the tool, but about the skills and the learning.

In order to streamline the process of converting a Skype Call into a Learning Call and to make it more visual, I created the following images and handouts. Please feel free to use them in your own classroom.

You can download all of them as a pdf file here.

Credit for middle image “experience” by tombodor

A Skype call should never be done in isolation. We should not treat a video conference any different than a field trip. The actual experience should be framed by pre-activities that activate prior knowledge and post-activites that give students the opportunity to reflect, create and connect these new experiences.

Pre-Activities include:

  • Familiarize with geographic location, language, culture, age group, etc.
  • KWL Chart
  • Information Literacy (locate)
  • Google Earth (distance)
  • Google Maps (Street view)
  • Formulate questions
  • Distribute job responsibilities for actual video conference experience

Pre-Activities Job Description:

Have students prepare for a call by filling out the handout below. You can easily ask them to formulate and share questions on your classroom blog as well.

Depending on the geographic location, have students “orientate” themselves to WHERE they will be connecting to by answering the following questions.

During the Call Activities include:

  • Interview
  • Q & A
  • Image & Video recording
  • Blog (summarize)
  • Backchannel
  • Data Collection
  • Present
  • Share

During Skype Call Job Description:

I have written several times about engaging students during a Skype call by given them specific jobs and responsibilities. You can listen to my 5th graders explaining each job a little more.

Once the Skype call has ended, it is important to help your students debrief and reflect on their experience. As their teacher you will want to assess in one shape or form the learning that occurred. Is skyping making a difference in their learning? Have they learned something that could not have been taught via a textbook? What was the engagement and motivational level of your students?

Here are some ideas on how to help your students reflect on their Skype experience and help you assess their learning. Give students choices on how to debrief by offering or alternating using different media.

Post-Call Activities include:

  • Informal assessment: debrief right after the Skype call. Have students talk about what just happened. Read the backchannel log out loud and collaboratively add anything that was not documented.
  • Information Literacy (evaluate, analyze, categorize data collected)
  • Create documentary (video clip) from video clips taken during the Skype call
  • Create Photo Slideshow of images taken during the Skype call
  • Write reflective blog posts
  • (Paper & Pencil) Journal entries: Give students prompts
  • Create a Video recording from your debriefing session
  • Audio podcasting
  • Embed images and video into blog post
  • Share with parents (informal at home) or host a parent presentation session at school
  • Present to larger audience (entire school, community, conference)

Post-Activities Job Description:

Take a peek into a debriefing session after a Skype Call from a third grade class.

What are some of the activities you do to frame a video conference experience for your students? How do you document and assess the learning taking place with video conferencing?


It is important that we start documenting and assessing student learning (formally and informally) from 21st Century tools. Most assessments are not designed to take new forms of learning into consideration. The more data and documentation we have, the more we can move towards a new kind of “testing and assessing“.

Please contribute by asking your students to take the following survey about their learning via Skype. Once you have had your students take the survey, please e-mail me , so I can share the results with you.

Please disseminate the link to the survey in your own PLN by blogging or tweeting about it.

Invite a Lawyer to Skype with your Class

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Nov 022010

I was made aware of this opportunity via Twitter:

On Thursday November 11, 2010, the Harlan Institute will be virtually visiting classrooms across the country in the inaugural SCOTUS-Skype-Teach-A-Thon. As a complement to, the Harlan Institute has trained a group of Mentors to to deliver virtual lectures to classrooms using Skype video chats.

Our mentors consist of attorneys, law professors, and law students who are all committed to raising awareness of the Constitution and the Supreme Court. During the inaugural SCOTUS-Skype-Teach-A-Thon, mentors will engage your class and discuss the most fascinating cases before the Supreme Court this term, including Snyder v. PhelpsSchwarzenegger v. EMA, NASA v. Nelson, Connick v. Thompson, and Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting. […]

If you are interested is interested in participating, please sign up your class at and request a mentor for your class.

Why not create your own Blog?

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Nov 012010

We have over 50 Blogs under the Around The World with 80 Schools umbrella. Some more active than others. They are a great way to read and explore HOW others are using Skype to connect their students and opening up the classroom walls.

Take a look at:

  • Dondi’s blog from Hungary
    They acted out words and their partner class had to guess them. They also taught them a few words in Hungarian
  • Chrissy H. from Thailand shares many Skype connections on her All Things Skype blog.
    Find pictures and descriptions of her calls to South Korea, Australia and the USA. She also has a How-To-Guide about placing a Clustr Visitors Map on your blog
  • Rich Platt’s blog, Local to Gobal Connections, starts out with an intriguing question to reflect upon: What makes you global?
  • Heidi Musteros’ blog, Goeprimaria from Argentina, which is written in English and Spanish,  is an incredible source of images and videos of her trinlingual (English, Spanish and German) Skype connections around the world. She does an incredible job of describing, summarizing and reflecting of the learning that is going on with her students.

Take a look at these blogs, start commenting on them as well to ask questions or give feedback to the owner. Collect ideas for your next Skype connections.

GET INSPIRED to create and start your own blog!

Just by being a member on the AWW80S site, you are entitled to a free blog.

Simply click on “My Blogs” in the task bar at the top of this window (you have to be logged in). Then click on “Create a Blog!”.

Then enter the name, which will become part of your blog’s URL address.

Once your blog is created, you will be able to customize it with a different theme, write pages and posts and start sharing your experiences. The AWW80S blogs are created on the WordPress platform. There are many tutorials available on the internet to help you get started. I have created the following pdf file as well, that will show you step by step instructions.

I can’t stress the importance of sharing enough! There are so many educators who have never heard of Skype or need extra inspiration and encouragement. Even if you are a newbie yourself, your perspective, successes and (yes even!) failures are important to share.

If you are interested in hearing more about the “Moral Imperative of Sharing” take a look at Dean Shareski’s K12 Online Conference 2010 video presentation.

Looking forward to see more blogs on Around The World with 80 Schools sharing the incredible work each and every one of you are doing!

Take a Look at All the Skype Blogs

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Sep 212010

Need inspiration how to integrate Skype into your classroom? Do you want to read about other teachers and examples of worldwide connections. Take a look at the 40+ different Skype Blogs on this Around The World with 80 Schools site.

Explore all the Blogs on AWW80S

You will be sure to find a project, images or videos that will help you plan and connect you own students!

Why not consider creating your own blog on to document your journey? Simply click on “My Blogs” on the top bar, then “Create a Blog!”

Create your Own Blog!

Aug 282010

A new school year has started for us here in the Northern Hemisphere. We are off to a fantastic start. I am working with our 5th grade teacher and class on their Christopher Columbus Social Studies unit.

Cristobal Colon

We are looking to involve students in researching the historic figure from different perspectives in order to put together a more accurate view of the “hero-fied” persona he has been portrayed as in many textbooks in the USA.

To this end, we would like to skype with “experts” from different countries and backgrounds who could tell us a little bit about what their perception of Christopher Columbus is. What have they been taught in school or at the university about the “Discoverer of the Americas”? Do you celebrate “Columbus Day” , “Dia de la Raza” or “Dia de la Hispanidad” in October? What does your textbook say?

We would be interested in skyping with educators at the elementary school, middle school, high school or university level as well as entire school classes to put together different perspectives.

Please leave a comment here on this post, contact me via the form or Tweet me to let me know you would be interested in participating (The actual Skype call should not last longer than 5 minutes and we would send you specific questions ahead of time).

Reform Symposium Presentation

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Jul 312010

Please join me for a “Skype Around the World” presentation at the Reform Symposium Online Conference.

Saturday, July 31st at 15:00 EST.

Click on the link below to enter the Elluminate session. I am looking forward to sharing the Around The World With 80 Schools Project with attendees. Tips and ideas how to connect and prepare your students for a successful Skype call.

Presentation: Skype Around The World

Description: Connect your students to the world!

Date & Times: Sat. July 31st 12pm-12:30pm LA/ 3pm, NYC/ 8pm London/ 9pm, Paris/5am, Sun., Sydney/ 4am, Sun., Tokyo
Click here for more time zones!

Click here to join the presentation:

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