Skype, the innovative online calling service, has joined forces with a new group of organizations to promote and accelerate its Skype in the classroom initiative. Its partners (Penguin Group, the New York Philharmonic, London’s Science Museum, Save the Children, and Peace One Day) are helping to connect classrooms and authors, musicians, educators and other experts. Skype in the classroom is currently running a contest that brings celebrities to schools via video chat – more on that below.
A bit of background
Skype in the Classroom is a free online community that has set the goal of connecting one million classrooms around the world. More than 28,000 teachers, from 190 countries are already participating. Projects are proposed by teachers looking to find an expert willing to Skype with their classrooms, and by experts looking to share their knowledge with young learners, as well as classes looking for other classes to connect with. Some of the projects currently available include French students looking for English-speaking penpals, students ages six to 11 looking to discuss world literature, author Susane Colasanti offering to speak to a class, and Arctic explorers who will link live to classrooms from their expedition to the Queen Elizabeth Islands.
The contest, which ends Thursday, offers teachers a chance to hold a conversation with one of the celebrity participants via Skype. The celebrities – Steve Harvey, Jackie Collins, Dylan and Cole Sprouse, James Patterson and Tinsel Korey – will speak with students using Skype’s video chat. To enter, teachers should sign up for Skype in the Classroom if they haven’t already, “like” the group’s Facebook page, and write a short entry on the ways they use Skype in the Classroom or would use it. Winners will be chosen on May 29 and the chats will take place on June 6.
All images from Skype