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Skype for Post Secondary Schools


Skype and Foreign Language

     

    Marquette University in Milwaukee, has found an effective way to marry Skype with their Italian and Spanish foreign language programs. Students in both programs use Skype to practice their Italian or Spanish with a native speaker. These "language partners" take turns speaking the languages they are learning for 25 minutes each.  Colleen Coffey, a Spanish teacher at Marquette, said, "This is revolutionizing our language teaching." Penn and Dickinson College both plan to add Skype to their Japanese, German, and Spanish classes. The University of Tennessee already uses it in it's French and German courses, but plans to expand it to other foreign language courses.

Foreign Language Lesson Plan (document)

Objectives

Following this lesson:

  • Students will better understand common phrases, pronunciation, and culture of the language being studied.
  • Students will be more comfortable speaking the language.

Materials

Computers
Headsets (optional)
Skype
Web Cameras
Internet Connection

Procedure

  1. First, assign each student to a computer equipped with a webcam and headset. Ask the students to connect to Skype, but not to call anyone. 
    1. Many instructors find that teaching students how to use Skype is pointless. Most teachers throw their students into the program without any formal training since most are considered to be "Digital Natives."
  2. Give each student the number of the native speaker they are assigned to.
    1. Websites such as verbalplanet.com will assist you in finding native speakers that are willing to interact with the students.
  3. Have the students 'skype' the native speakers for about 25 minutes in the studied language. Then, have the student interact with the native speaker in English. This will allow both learners to develop their skill and knowledge of the languages.
  4. Each student should write a reaction or summary to what they have learned during the conversation. Be sure to have them record any new phrases or cultural knowledge.

                 

Skype and Music

    A Grove City College professor, Joseph Pisano, has found an interesting way to use Skype in his classroom. He is a music professor and conductor at the college, and firmly believes in using Skype to enhance learning. He uses it to invite experts in the music industry to speak to his students. He teamed up with Travis Weller, director of band grades 7-12 at Mercer Area Middle School and High School, to use Skype during a live performance. Weller directed the students live while three composers answered questions and comments from the audience about the performance.

  
Skype and Ohio University

     During their International Week, students at Ohio University experienced just how helpful Skype can be. The director of the Al-Khatim Adlan Centre for Enlightenment and Human Development in Sudan, Albaqir Mukhtar, spoke and lead a discussion on the crisis in Darfur. Mukhtar used his laptop with a built in video camera and Skype to interact with the students.

 
 Skype and News  

     Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania is also making new strides with Skype. Students there felt that the media was only presenting a select few stories to report of the daily happenings in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The students used Skype to locate locals of both countries to interview them on their experiences with the war in their country. One of the students, Hansi Lo Wang (senior producer of War News Radio), said, "My most memorable interview was when I heard gunfire going off in the background." It is obvious that students can gain important insight through experiences such as these.

Journalism Lesson Plan (document)

Objectives

Following this activity:

  • Students will be able to write an article on their finding of the ongoing conflict in Iraq or Afghanistan based on a native's personal experiences.

Materials

Computers
Skype
Internet Connection
Headsets (optional)
Web Cameras

Procedure

  1. First, assign each student to a computer equipped with a webcam and headset. Ask the students to connect to Skype, but not to call anyone. 
    1. Many instructors find that teaching students how to use Skype is pointless. Most teachers throw their students into the program without any formal training since most are considered to be "Digital Natives."
    2. Prior to this, students should have formulated questions they want to ask the native about their experiences with the war.
  2. Have each student use Skype to locate an Iraqi or Aghanistan native to interview.
  3. Each student should 'skype' the native and interview them on their personal experiences with the war. Students should use their previously formulated questions as guidelines for the interview.
  4. Students should then write an article on their findings. Be sure that they point out any piece of information that contradicts or supports what the American media presented. Discuss the findings in a large group.


Student Teacher Introduction to Skype (document) (pdf)

Overview:

Students and student teachers will be introduced to the basics of the Web 2.0 utility known as Skype, designed as an easy and cheap method to communicate through the Internet.  Students will be expected to work in pairs.

Objective:

Following the perusal of the Skype wiki, a pair of students will successfully demonstrate their knowledge of the Skype utility by downloading the program to their computer, creating a Skype account and executing three different types of communication with their partner through Skype only.

Standards:

ISTE / NET-T Standard 3: Model Digital-Age Work and Learning
Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society. Teachers:
a. demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations
b. collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success
and innovation
c. communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats

Materials:

Materials required will be a computer with Internet access and a head and microphone set for speaking through the Internet.

Procedure:

1.       The student or student teacher will first be paired off.
2.      Each pair of students will then read through the Skype wiki to learn the basics behind the utility.
3.      The students will then proceed to the Skype homepage, download the program to their computer and then create a Skype account.
4.      When ready, each pair of students will demonstrate to the instructor their knowledge of three different types of communication using Skype only.

Evaluation:

Evaluation is a simple yes or no demonstration of their ability to use the Skype program.




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