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Welcome to the Future

September 3, 2011

As a 21st century classroom teacher, I believe it is imperative for my students to recognize that the classroom is just a base for learning. The four walls of the classroom are no longer constraining students from the outside world.  With the advent of social media, the landscape of education changed.  It is now possible and necessary for students in the United States to be communicating and collaborating with students all across the world.

Last year, I began to use Skype more in the classroom.  I quickly learned that my students really loved seeing other classes or talking directly with other educators.  By the end of last year, my students had traveled all over the world.  We learned about an ipad initiative while Skyping to @fisher1000 in China.  We did a joint read aloud with a class in New York.  We walked the streets of Scotland and watched it go from day to night in Rome.  Every Skype had a purpose.  Here is a Prezi 3 of my 3rd grade students made last year on our Skype adventure.

This year I have a goal to Skype to every continent.  We are now 1 and half weeks into our school year, and we have already had two great Skypes to England and Sydney, Australia.  Our first social studies unit is geography.  We are studying maps, globes, the continents, oceans etc.  To help guide our study we are reading Letters from Felix.

Felix travels all around the world and reports back to his owner via letters.  It is a great book.  Felix travels to London and learns about the culture and attractions.  My students got the chance to Skype with @largerama.  My students created questions based on their research of England and Nick answered them.  Their engagement level and enthusiastic desire to learn more was awesome.  I am currently working with my PLN to find a Skype in Kenya because Felix will be making his way there next week.

Last week, we also Skyped with @edusum.  This was a real treat because Summer lives in Sydney, Australia.  As she said so eloquently to my students, “Welcome to the Future”.  Sydney is 14 hours ahead of us so my students were just getting to school in the morning while Summer was getting ready for bed.  We discussed Australian geography, animals, food, culture, and seasons.  Later in the year, we will study seasons, day/night and tilt of the Earth.  I know that my students will refer back to this Skype to help them learn about those topics.

For me, I want this year to be another great learning experience as I continue to grow as an educator and learner.  For my students, I want them to understand that they are not alone in their educational journey.  There are students, educators, professionals etc. all over the world willing to help them along. I cannot wait to introduce the many other forms of social media I use to my new students.  But for right now, Skype has paved the way for another exciting year in Mr. T’s class.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 4, 2011 5:28 pm

    Hey, got your tweet. Will have to setup a Skype chat with some of my students in Egypt sounds like an exciting project!

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