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.