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Skype and Projector go Together

I love Skype—most everyone I know understands the place to reach me is at my computer. It’s not enough to talk—I want to see them via their webcam when we speak. If I don’t have the time, their instant messages sent via Skype tide me over and save me from the tedium of wading through my email messages and the weight of the nagging obligation to respond to the sender with an email containing depth and detail commensurate with theirs.

Somewhere in my readings I ran across two words in the same sentence which were guaranteed to capture my attention: “Skype” and” LCD Projector,” and I decided to look into the use of Skype in a classroom environment . My immediate thoughts were about the literature circles I’ve been leading in my daughter’s fourth grade and I imagined the possibility of having the class Skype a character from our current book and conduct larger than life discussions with that character via classroom projector. From the safety of home or office any number of parent volunteers who have read the book could interact with the class via Skype and play the role of a character thus participating in the classroom life of their child in a manner they could not without the aid this technology. It would totally shatter the limitations placed on working parents and assuage some of the guilt we feel and the resentment we harbor against the moms (and dads)who don’t have to work and are ALWAYS at the school. But I digress...

After some searching I ran across an article by Carolyn Foote written for the School Library Journal and realized that teachers are going in way deeper with Skype than I’d ever considered. Foote’s students at Westlake High School in Austin, TX, “Skyped” an actual author and the subsequent activities that followed represent some very exciting possibilities for the classroom all of which reinforce the idea that books and technology don’t have to compete. In the very near future all industries will demand the kind of connected communication Skype provides right now—for FREE. Read the article here I'll definitely be addressing this more in future posts.

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