Skype in the Classroom
My Skype username is colleen.davenport81 and here is evidence of me using Skype to chat with my husband and my sweaty baby on a humid summer’s day. 🙂
I’ve been brainstorming for awhile how I would use Skype in my classroom and I’ve come up with these ideas:
- Contacting a professor at MSU or another university and having him/her explain a tricky economics topic to my classes.
- Each semester I have a banker come speak to my classes about personal, real-life banking, investments, and budgeting. I think using Skype to do this would be great because then they can stay at their offices and get some work done in between classes, plus they don’t have to travel. While they have given out materials to students in the past, I could have them mail materials or drop them off ahead of time (or I could pick them up). I think this saves everyone time and still gives students an interactive opportunity.
- Chatting with students who are absent about what we covered in class, even if I chat with them from home. I’ve had some students miss extended amounts of time due to illnesses and this would be so helpful! Even if students missed just a day of class and wanted to catch up and clarify, this would be helpful.
- Chatting with students and creating an online office hour session (I could create a group in Skype for this) for students to ask questions. This would be really great with a hybrid class that doesn’t meet everyday. I could set up office hours during the time we would normally meet and/or have times in the evening for them to chat.
- Have students work in groups even if someone is absent. They can Skype and discuss what they need to work on.
I’ve also used Google Hangouts (and I’ve even used it as a baby monitor when we forgot our monitor while visiting friends) and I really like how it’s integrated with my Google account so that I don’t have to log in to another tool.
I haven’t really used back channel chats before, but I can see using one while I’m explaining a concept, or even just having one open during most class sessions for students to ask questions of one another. I suppose not every activity we do would require a back channel chat, but it would be nice for students to be able to get ideas from one another.