Skype in the Classroom: Breaking the Classroom Wall

It’s been six months since I started to open my classroom in the world and allowed my students to learn more about cultures, traditions and beliefs not just merely by reading in the books nor browsing at the internet, but by having a meaningful conversation with the different educators and students around the world using Skype.

Skype is not merely a telecommunication tool that allows you to have video chats or voice calls to your friends and families but it is also one of the best educational tools that can develop the 21st century skills of the learners.

The first Skype meeting I had was with the Vietnamese teacher, Ngo Thanh Nam, together with his 5th grade students at Vietnam Australia International School last March 16. This meeting was held as part of our activities in our global project entitled “We Are Young Volunteers” which focused on the traffic safety.  In the meeting, our students presented their jingle, poems, and posters showing all the things they had learned from their global project.

As I witnessed how the first engagement with Skype gave my students a WOW impact, I began to realize that there is another way of making your lesson more fun and exciting aside from giving your students indoor or outdoor activities and/ or giving them group tasks; and that is breaking your classroom wall and letting your students meet the world through Skype.

Since then, I joined the Skype in the Classroom. It is a website on which teachers around the globe can post their ideas for Skype lessons, connect with other classrooms, play the Mystery Skype game and come up with ways to collaborate globally via Skype. It helps us, educators, to develop the 21st century skills of our students as they learn to communicate, to collaborate and to appreciate other people’s cultures and beliefs.

When the new school year began, using Skype in the Classroom, I started communicating with the different educators not only in my own country but also in other countries and asked them to have skype lessons with their students. Gladly, I had done three skype lessons with the other Filipino teachers and students and we focused on sharing the different dialects, culture and traditions of our provinces. It was a fulfilling day to see that your students learned to count, to say ‘hi’ and ‘hello’ etc. using the newly learned dialect.

Now, you can view the two Skype lessons I have posted in the Skype in the Classroom. One is entitled, “Who Wants to be a Storyteller” which invites the students to tell the legends, myths, fables and etc. originated from their own country. The other one is the “ Mystery Skype with the Filipino Students” which asks the educators and students to play the Mystery Skype with them.

As I continue my journey as an educator, I also continue giving meaningful learning to my students by breaking my classroom wall and allowing them to see the real world.

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Creating Better Education with Microsoft

A teacher presents lessons to her students using PowerPoint for several years. At first, she found it very effective in getting the attention of her students. But as the months passed by, she noticed that her students were getting bored on the repeated animations of her slides. This scenario is commonly seen in the classroom in our country. Teachers think that it’s enough to use PowerPoint alone for them to say that they are integrating technology in their class.

In this 21st century education, teachers are expected to be innovative. As the Philippine education tries to adjust in its new K to 12 curriculum, teachers are also trying their best to meet the expectations in providing equipped and globally competitive students. But sad to say, other teachers do not know how to use the different ICT tools in the class effectively. I must admit that I was one of those teachers before.

When I was trying to equip myself in the use of technology, I came across in the Microsoft Educator Network, the largest community for teachers, students and schools around the globe. I learned many things from this community as I joined in the different discussions. I also shared my learning activity which made me to be chosen as one of the Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts 2015 (MIE Expert). There, I learned to collaborate, to do global projects, and to share best practices with the educators in the different parts of the world.

Being MIE Expert was also the reason for me to be included in the Microsoft Education Ambassadors, a program by Microsoft Educator Network Philippines, which trains teachers on how to use the Microsoft tools in teaching and learning effectively.  I attended the three-day training and learned a lot from it. After the training, we needed to face our challenge as MS Ambassadors, and that was to train teachers in our adopted school. I bravely accepted the challenge and together with my co-Ambassador, Sir Joy Gabriel, I was able to train 82 teachers in our Division on the different Office tips and tricks. It was such an amazing experience sharing my knowledge to my fellow educators.

But the story didn’t end there. After a month of my conducted training, I was invited by Microsoft to give a 30-minute presentation in front of 2,000 educators in our province of Cavite. At first, I thought that it would be a tough one for that will be my first time to stand in a huge crowd. But my experiences as MIE Expert and the training provided to me by Microsoft helped me to be courageous in facing the new task successfully.

Last August 1, I received my Certificate of Graduation in the Microsoft Educator Ambassador’s Program. The certificate doesn’t mean that I am already an expert when it comes in using technology in the class but it means that I was able to touch the lives of many educators and somewhat shared my knowledge on the different ICT tools. Indeed, behind the white paper was my exciting journey as an educator which cannot be measured by anything else.

And now, as I continue my journey in innovative teaching in this 21st century education, I strongly believe that together with Microsoft, I can contribute a lot in creating better education not only in my beloved country but also in the world.

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Introducing Sway to my Students

It was the month of July when classes had been suspended for many days due to typhoons in our country. I noticed that many from my students were always online that time. So to make their days more meaningful, I introduced them SWAY.

Using the blank canvass, I entitled the Sway with “English is Fun with 7-Rizal“. I inserted my photo and basic information for them to follow. I copied the edit link and posted it in our Facebook group. I also made steps on how they were going to add their own photo and basic information.

My students who were always online easily got my instructions and successfully followed my given steps. It was exciting to see my students inserting their own cards. But since it was their first time to encounter Sway, many from my students got some problems… others didn’t have Microsoft account and others were not able to follow the steps correctly and accidentally deleted the other cards of their classmates. And oh! someone deleted my  photo and basic information too! Hahaha.

When the classes resumed, my students shared their experiences in adding their own cards, photos and basic information. They said that it was a very exciting online activity and they wanted to create more Sways. So, before our First Quarter ends, I asked them to create their own Sway about how the world was created.

I’m excited to see their Sways this week!

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MIE- More Than What You Think

Welcome To Mr Nam's Space

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by Nam Ngo Thanh and Erliza Matacot
Expert Educator Columnists, Vietnam and Philippines

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

This adage from a French author and a Nobel Prize winner in Literature André Gide may be best applied to all educators who want to sail their own ship in seeking for the best education. With the rapid development of the society, approach in education has also changed. Thus, teachers and students should not be left behind and should be courageous in embracing the changes brought by the new generation.

800 educators from different countries around the globe, trying to cruise their vessels with technology and enhancing their professional knowledge and skills, met together in one ocean and became Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts. There, they are tasked to be sailed in one ship together, share to each other what they know…

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Join in My Wonderful Journey as a Teacher

I’m Erliza L. Matacot, an English teacher at Dasmarinas East National High School, Dasmarinas City, Philippines. I’ve been in the public educational institution for almost five years. Aside from teaching English subject, I am also the School Paper Adviser of our campus journalism.

My wonderful adventure as a teacher started when I became a member of Global Filipino Teacher. It is a training program designed to spread the use ICT in the teaching and learning environment.  There, I learned how to develop a project-based learning. I also met Microsoft and became amazed with its different free tools. Reading the different posts form different educators around the world made me more inspired.

Now, as I have been chosen to be one of the MIE Experts, I feel so great and honored for I know that I will learn more exciting and more interesting things with my co- MIE Experts.

Got a Global Recognition…. and still counting :)

Microsoft Expert EducatorCertificate_MIEExperts Erliza Matacot

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I never thought that joining the Partners in Learning was the start of my new journey as a teacher.
I am not an expert one but having been recognized by Microsoft and receiving a global recognition were just a reward for my untiring efforts to be an innovative teacher.

I was really overwhelmed with the overflowing opportunities given by Microsoft to all MIE Experts. I finished the basic course of Teaching with Technology, and also done the course of The Hour of Code. Hopefully, I will finish all the courses this January 2015 🙂

All educators around the globe are worthy for this kind of recognition… All they have to do is to embrace the challenges of the 21st Century Education and of course… BE A MEMBER OF MICROSOFT EDUCATOR NETWORK…