Watch above: Students learn from experts via Skype
SASKATOON – Most people use Skype to talk with friends or loved ones, near or far away. Students St. Mark Community School are using the video service as a tool to improve learning.
“Skyping gives kids the chance to connect with people around the world and ask the questions you can’t ask a book,” said Connie Davis, a teacher and librarian at the school.
After reading the story of Anne Frank, the Grade 8 class used Skype to get in touch with a holocaust survivor in Montreal to learn firsthand her journey from Germany to hiding in Norway.
The words of Margaret Stenge had students sitting on the edge of their seats, soaking in all that she had to endure at a young age.
“When you’re actually speaking to the people and they’re telling you face to face how it is, it just helps you become more engaged with it, it’s more interesting honestly,” said student Joy Timon.
“Usually you’re like reading books and stuff and you kind of go with whatever you read, you don’t ask to many questions,” added classmate Zachary Vanderelst.
Skype in the classroom has allowed students to think outside the box.
“They’re asking bigger questions, they’re making good choices, they’re choosing strategies and skills that they never had the opportunity to choose before,” said Davis.
Without leaving St. Mark Community School, Davis is helping instruct a 21st century learning class at Alexander School in Brandon, Man.
“I got to a situation where I wanted to share something or I wanted a student to come in, I couldn’t very well drive back to Saskatoon pick up that student and drive back to Brandon but in this case I can shutdown the Skype call, grab that student, start up the Skype call again and enrich learning,” explained Davis.
The Grade 8 class in Brandon will be working with the Grade 8 class at St. Mark moving forward.
While report cards have yet to go out, technology like Skype in the classroom gets an ‘A’ for attendance.
St. Mark Community School has had global learning partnerships with schools around the world.