What an exhilarating feeling when I successfully made and connected a Skype call between my year 3 prac class and a 2/3 composite class from another school. Skype offers so many opportunities for education.
The technical issues were quite tedious to overcome but I never let that defeat me. As the school had no wifi connection was an issue. The school computer had no web cam and whilst I was able to bring in my own laptop, the school wasn’t too keen on giving me all the login details I needed to connect it to the internet.
Plan B: Connect to the internet using my iPhone as a hot spot. Great idea but this too was also draped in difficulty. Thankfully I had a very supportive teacher from another school (who happens to be my sons teacher) that spend two afternoons trying to connect in a trial run. The first day didn’t work at all only ringing then cutting out. We tried FaceTime but this too wouldn’t connect.
When I was about to concede defeat a last minute walk around holding my phone out to all areas trying to improve the reception gave a signal strong enough to support the call. This did result in me having my phone perched on the verandah railing in order to maintain the signal. I ended up wrapping tape around my phone so it didn’t fall off. I am grateful it didn’t rain!
Coming from a classroom that has never had any experience like this (the computers in the classroom were turned on once during the 3 week period and only at my request) the kids were very excited. Was it hard to settle them? Yes. Were they interested and engaged in the learning? Yes. Was it beneficial, interesting and exciting? Yes.
I’m looking forward to using this technology again. Interviewing authors, politicians, scientists the opportunities are only bound by our imaginations.