How do I improve our Skype experience for my students?

I really love the idea of using Skype in an elementary classroom. My students can learn from an expert or they can connect with other classrooms using this technology. Sounds wonderful, so what could possibly be the problem???

Some of the problems are hard to fix. We did figure out how to fix the problem for a classroom that had no sound. We used the Skype chat feature. I also wasn't sure about using my mic for sound or should I just use the built in mic? I own a Logitech mic that we use for our VoiceThreads. Should I use that? But how do you fix the jumpy screen or the frozen screen? Does Skype use that much bandwidth?

I also assumed my students would know what to say. We had rehearsed our answers and our questions, but when they got on camera, they were shy and quiet. They sure didn't use their outside voices! I think next time I will print out the questions and answers and assign students to speak. They don't necessarily need to read it, but they will have the script and know when their part is coming up.??

I also used a small area of my room for our Skype backdrop. I only had permission from 18 of my 32 students to participate in the Skype chat. I noticed from the 3 calls we did on Friday, that having all the students sitting was the way to go. I believe I will rearrange my student's desks for our Monday Skype call. I will then be able to point the camera to the 18 students desks.??

My other problem was the many cords connected to my laptop. If there was a time to have wireless, this would be it! I had my SmartBoard plugged in, my powercord, hard wire connection and a USB cord all plugged into my laptop. I really couldn't move my laptop very far. If I did have wireless, wouldn't I still need my SmartBoard plugged in???

Will I Skype again? You bet! I think the schools I connected with want to too. Since I'm connecting with Catholic Schools I thought it would be fun to talk about Lent and what the children do to prepare for Easter. I think the best moment was when we sang the Alleluia we use at Mass, ??for the Michigan classroom, and saw the looks on their faces and heard them say, "We sing that one too!" ??

One thing that is a constant, is a teacher's voice. As we were setting up and arranging our students for our Michigan call with @Scout7. She told her students to kneel down so that we could see all of her students. If you can believe it, my students thought she was talking to them, and they knelt down! Now that's the sound of authority coming all the way through the internet!??Keep an eye on our journey using technology, we sure have fun!


  1. Love your comment about the voice of authority! Now that you have done this once, I’m sure your students, as well as you, will be more confident. I think you will do better using an external mike and projecting onto your smartboard or a screen. What kind of internet connection do you have at your school? Is it slow at certain times of the day? That is what happened to us until they upgraded the network. It seemed after lunch all the Upper School kids were checking their accounts which made it slow for classroom use in the Lower School at the same time.Good luck on your next round of conversations.Allison WilliamsCollegiate SchoolRichmond, VA

  2. Thanks for the comment, Allison! We did project to the Smartboard, but I think I will use my external mic next time. I’m not sure about our internet connection. I’ll have to check on Monday. Do you suppose all the snow in Pennsylvania had anything to do with it? 😉

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