Teacher's Guide: Classroom to Classroom interaction Using Skype and ePals


Teacher's Guide: Classroom to Classroom interaction Using Skype and ePals
21st century educational system makes its classrooms with no boundaries. Technology helps students learn anywhere. Many technological approaches bring the world into your classroom through video conferencing, social networking,etc. Through video 
conferencing, educators can engage their classrooms and watch students of one class interact with students of another class.

Classroom to Classroom interactions bring new joy to students and encourage them to actively participate in discussions, lectures as well as collaborative projects. Many educators recommend Skype and ePals as great tools for Classroom to Classroom interaction. Let’s learn about the usage of both of these tools for effective collaboration and interaction.

Classroom to Classroom Interaction using Skype:

Step by Step Procedure:

Once you’ve installed Skype software on your device, set up an account, profile, privacy options and interface basics, so that everything is clear for you to have a classroom to classroom interaction. Here is the step-by-step guide:

Figure out the classrooms:

Through Social Networks: You can see a number of educators on social networks searching for classrooms to interact with their classroom, Figure out a classroom according to your subject needs and grade level, with social networks.

Through Skype Education: Skype Education channel helps you find out educators, lessons, classrooms and guest speakers to interact with. Go to Education.Skype.com , create an account, enter a result and sort out the relevant result according to the subject, age level, resource type and language. Once you’ve picked up the relevant classroom, educator or guest speaker, the owner of that Skype account will be notified for further conversation.

Fix a Schedule:

As we know, the classrooms we interact with are separated at a greater geographical distance, there is a no doubt that there is a Time Zone difference. Fix a schedule which is convenient for both the classrooms to interact with.

Conduct Debates, Discussions or Reader’s Theatre:

Once your classroom is set in front of another classroom using Skype, you’ll have numerous ways to engage the students of your class in discussions, debates and collaborative online projects. These interactions not only improve students’ knowledge but also bring them new energy to learn new things.

Benefits of Classroom to Classroom Interaction:

Improved learning strategies:

There is no doubt that classroom to classroom interaction helps educators improve students’ learning strategies because of the effective interactions between students and students, students and educator, author or a demonstrator.

Social Interaction Skills:

With classroom to classroom interaction using Skype, educators can easily improve their students’ social interaction skills.

List of Classrooms and their Skype usernames:

There are numerous classrooms interested in having Skype conversations with other classes. Click the following link to open the Google document that includes the details of such classrooms.

Details of Classrooms that are interested to interact on Skype (Source: an article on The Edu Blogger)

Exchange of Cultures, Foreign language learning and adapt new educational practices:

When students of different places communicate with each other, they exchange their views on different educational practices, learn each other’s language and be part of the cultural exchange that takes place.

There are numerous discussions going on in Skype’s education channel where educators invite other educators to fix a classroom to classroom interaction. In addition to Skype, there is one more platform serving classrooms to connect globally. Let’s learn about it.

ePals:

ePals Corporation is an education media company and a leading Global Learning Network. ePals’s platform is designed to promote meaningful teaching and learning, providing educators and students with the information about how to use technology strategically to promote the fundamental learning principles essential for academic achievement. It also provides educators with professional development, curriculum, contests and other resources. Unlike traditional social networks, where a person usually connects solely with people he or she knows in the "real world," the ePals network connects students both "down the block" and literally around the globe with people they may not know, but with whom they share a common interest. For example, a high school class studying Chinese may use ePals to connect with a class in China that is studying English. These interactions help students in both countries learn the language and experience some of the culture through this real-world connection. The following is a stepbystep guide for connecting classrooms with other classrooms using ePals.

First of all, I’d like to let you know about a few hands-on activities of ePals:

ePals has numerous projects in its projection that are very useful to learn. Explore relevant projects to improve your knowledge.

In ePals’s classroom section, educators can find numerous classrooms from around the world to connect with. Your students can interact with other classroom students through text, audio as well as video chat.

Step by Step guide to connect other classrooms:

Go to www.epals.com , register for a free teacher account, select “Join us” and then “ePals global community”.

There are many useful things involved in ePals platform such as ePals Projects (explore if you find any project interesting), learning centers and teacher resources (Resources, Collaboration tools, experiences, Common core and teacher forums), etc.

Click on “Find Classroom” on the top left hand side of the website and you’ll automatically be redirected to the classroom selection page.

Select language and age, enter your inquiries (key words relevant to topics) in the search bar, choose your region, select the number of students and mark the collaboration type (text, video or audio chat).

After finding the results, figure out a suitable classroom and contact the teacher in one or more of the classrooms introducing you and suggesting further discussions about collaboration.

We hope this information is useful for you to know about the procedure and benefits of classroom to classroom interaction using Skype and ePals. We’d like to have your views on classroom to classroom global connections. Please share with us your practices of using Skype and ePals in your classroom. Also, we’d like you to tell us about a few more educational platforms like these. The comment box awaits you.

About the Author
Author: Santosh Bhaskar KWebsite: http://www.twitter.com/SantoshBhaskarK
Devotee of Dr. Abdul Kalam. Following his path of Creating Creative Education in India. Contributing my works in "India Vision 2020". Former EdTech Blogger/Researcher at ETR India

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