Imagine you are teaching French, and you’d like your students to speak with kids their age who live in Paris. Or, you’re a science teacher doing a weather unit with your 3rd graders and you’d like to share your local weather with other 3rd graders. What if you’re a social studies teacher in India, and you have a great lesson about population growth that you’re excited to share with kids on the other side of the globe?
According to the Common Core State Standards, an compilation of skills and knowledge for academic success, students should be investigating the world, recognizing different perspectives, communicating ideas and taking action. Interviewing students from around the world and presenting projects to classrooms worldwide are two phenomenal examples of achieving these goals. How can teachers provide these international experiences? With the growth of the internet around the world, and developments in videoconferencing, it is now possible for educators to search a global directory of classes by student age range, language and subject- all through “Skype in the Classroom.“
There are over 20,000 teachers registered on the site, ready to connect with other schools around the world. The possibilities are endless for teachers with a little creativity, enthusiasm for bringing technology into the classroom, and a passion for global education. Here’s how to get started:
Creating a profile is easy. Teachers and educators should go to education.skype.com and set up an account. As stated on the web site, “Please note that personal projects and projects for commercial gain are not permitted on Skype in the classroom.” You may choose a screen name, avatar, and description, and teaching interests that others will be able to view. A great security features is that nobody will see your skype details unless you accept their contact requests.
This is what your profile will look like once you have it set up:
You are able to filter the teachers/classes by the students’ ages, their language, country, and by category. In the above example, I have chosen to look for a language exchange for students ages 12-15, who speak Spanish anywhere in the world. By sorting the results, I am able to find exactly what I am looking for and can click on the screen names to view their profiles and request a connection.
One of the most exciting tabs at the top menu is the “Projects” category. Here, teachers can post projects that they are working on, and need collaboration from other classes. For example, this teacher is looking for a class in Venezuela to help them prepare for their International Night. If a school is Venezuela is interested in participating in this cultural exchange, they can click on the green button: “I would like to take part” and the groups would be put in contact with each other.
The project tab helps teachers find partner classrooms for projects and ideas, such as these teachers experiences: a weather around the world unit, an elapsed time concept, a world population lesson, cultural connection with Bangladesh, and bringing experts into the classroom:
If you click on the top menu bar on the “Collections” tab, you will be inspired by exceptional examples of projects that have taken place around the world.
To “invite” an expert into your classroom, click on the resources tab at the top. This includes opportunities to skype with specialists, but also contains links, videos, and articles that will assist teachers in developing opportunities for their students.
This exciting platform is available for all ages and all subjects- the only limit is our imagination. Create your profile and beginning looking for an international opportunity to enhance your class- start a conversation today with a class on the other side of the world, and push your students to go global.