Saturday, January 31, 2009

Crossing the Gap with Skype

OK - imagine that one of your students goes on vacation with the family and is going to be gone for a few weeks.

How do you continue to educate them so that they are not weeks behind when they return?
One possibility is through the use of Skype.

skype2

One of the teachers in our district is using Skype to bridge the gap. Above you can see the webcam that he hung from the ceiling so that the student could see and hear what was going on in real time with the rest of his classmates. When the student has a question, he can speak up and the class can hear him through the computer speakers.

skype1

The webcam is positioned near the front of the room and the teacher writes large enough on the whiteboard so that it can still be picked up by the webcam. Prior to the student leaving, we provided the student with a laptop and webcam. I installed Skype on it and created a generic, temporary account for the student to use. So far, the teacher feels that it has been working well.

Has anyone else had situations like this come up in your schools? How do you work to continue educating your students when they are gone for extended periods of time? I look forward to hearing your stories.

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