I chose to Skype with Susie. Although we work alongside each other every day, it was an interesting change in the way we connect with one another. While Skyping from home we were probably about 20-25 minutes away from each other, but it makes you think about all of the possibilities of connecting with others in other cities, states, and around the world. Although I have never used Skype before, I have used a similar program (Facetime) to be able to connect with family members in other cities. For some reason, it never has popped into my mind to be able to use Skype in the classroom, but it certainly could be useful to myself and my students.
I would like to use Skype in the future to help my students to connect with another class somewhere else in our country or maybe even in the world. I know I have used the idea in another assignment, but pen pals are such a simple way to establish connections between our students and others of the same age, but in another location elsewhere in our world. It would be so cool to connect with students living in a location that we may be reading about in Language Arts and be able to have them share some of their culture and traditions with us. To help my students to be able to become comfortable with Skype before reaching out to other students elsewhere, I think it would be really cool to have the students Skype younger students (even those in our school) and read stories to them. They could all choose a book that interests them, practice it in class, and then be able to share it with another student in a different way than what they are used to. I think for those readers that are hesitant and may not be as confident as others, this would be a great way to break down those walls for them and make them to feel comfortable as they gain more confidence in reading to others and using Skype.
I would also love to be able to connect with other teachers in various locations just to be able to share ideas with one another. I work with so many great teachers everyday who have so many great ideas, but sometimes it takes a different outlook on things to be able to come up with new teaching strategies and ideas. As with my students, I would love to connect with teachers in locations that we learn about in 2nd grade to be able to learn new information from them that I could share with my students.
I really feel that with a program like Skype, the possibilities are endless. I would hope to start out using Skype as a way for my students to see what possibilities are out there for them and how they can use the internet and its resources in a safe way that helps them to connect to others that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to. They could actually see their pen pals instead of just imaging what they would look like, or be able to read their favorite story to their Grandmother who lives across the country. I hope that by using Skype, my students and myself will feel as if it can enhance whatever we are learning in class to make it more interactive and open up avenues to be able to share and gather knowledge as we connect with others.