My son recently got a GA position in Chicago and I live in Ohio. Prior to this, he was at a college in Ohio for his undergrad degree and we would see him about twice a week during basketball season and once a week otherwise. It was difficult for me to have him move and I don’t think I would have been able to handle the separation without Skype. It has been a wonderful tool that has made it possible for us to see each other without being together. My parents are also close to him so I had them come over and Skype one night. My dad is 80 and my mom 77. I wish I could explain what I witnessed when they sat down at that computer and saw him online. They were so dumbfounded. My mom cried for the first 15 minutes of the conversation and my dad kept saying, “In all my years, I’ve never seen anything like this.” I know this really doesn’t have anything to do with connecting educationally, but the emotion Skype can evoke is powerful. I would use that in my classroom.
I was able to connect with my classmate, Natalie through Skype. It was wonderful to finally meet the person I have been working with on the wiki. We discussed our wiki page for the week and also talked about our jobs and how to implement the things we have learned into our own classrooms. She has a lot harder time with implementation of technology than I do. I felt lucky to have administrative support in my district after having listened to her situation. It was a great professional conversation and I learned a lot from her in the short time we were able to talk.
I can think of many ways to use Skype in the classroom. I think the most interesting way would be to have my class connect with people of another culture because they live in such a small, rural town. I think a connection with people from other cultures would really open their eyes to the possibilities of life outside their small town and help them see that the world around them is diverse. I would hope from this experience they would learn that their education is envied by others around the world. Perhaps a different viewpoint would help them to see that they really are lucky to be allowed to go to school versus being made to go to school.