Monday, 9 July 2007

A 7 year old and SKYPE!

Today I sneaked back into my classroom to grab my school computer (PC). While there I took a quick glance through a few of my students' books... namely their reflective journals (these records of their learning are often shared and are not private).

This short piece of reflective writing stood out to me:

"Today I learned that a class can talk to another class in New Zealand or in a different country using a computer."

See... a 7 year old can understand the power of Skype to enable communication with others within New Zealand, or indeed worldwide!

We have been using Skype to communicate with our Auckland buddies who are our EXPERTS on reducing, reusing and recycling which is the topic we are learning about.

We have had many 'dry run' Skype calls with our buddies during lunchtimes over the past 2 weeks (in preparation and sorting tech probs) and many students have enjoyed dropping in to have a quick chat and to check out the action.

Our first "official" Skype call took place last week (our last week of Term 2) and proved a bit of a technical nightmare. Skype was thoroughly overloaded and neither party could place a call all morning long. Marnie and I even had to resort to cell phone calls to each other to see what the problems were!

The afternoon proved better (probably the rest of the world was asleep) but the connection was still not great and our buddies couldn't hear everything- so we just had to do an "introductions" session. Bless these students who are so adaptable... they threw away their pre-planned questions and found something to talk about!

We are looking forwards next term to asking our experts all of our questions we have about reducing, reusing and recycling... their school is Gold Enviro Award winners and definitely EXPERTS on this. We have lots to learn!

It seems in NZ the afternoon is the best time to use Skype due to less people being online. Has anyone else found this?

Enjoy this video if you're interested - highlights of the "introductions" between our classes of 6 & 7 year olds!

Thanks Marnie for all your patience... I look forwards to linking up again and hope Skype will cooperate this time :)


  1. Hi Rachel,
    My class and I have found Tuesday afternoon to be the best time to Skype ... I feel worried letting you know this as maybe millions will read this and then no days will be good!!!! We have been using a wee thing called 'yackpack' which is a walkie talkie push to talk button you put on your blog and for audio only is it hard to beat ... but it is nice to see who you are talking to so we use Skype as well.
    Jody Hayes

  2. Hi Jody,
    Yes, afternoons definitely seem to be the go for Skype in the afternoon. Will try tuesday afternoons but I know about the fear of 'jinxing' the day! :)
    Yes, I know YakPack well and the only reason I haven't "gone for it" and used it with my class on our blog is that I'm not sure about the idea of my kids talking to unknown people.... I'm not normally a person who worries about this sort of thing but I'm not sure about the anonymous nature of yakpack.

    Have you had any not so good experiences using it?

    Cheers, Rachel

  3. Hi Rachel,
    These web 2.0 tools are brilliant, we are coming towards the end of our school year in the UK and my class are reflecting on their favourite piece of technology and the best Wow! moment this year.
    Well Done

    Mr H (Wales)

  4. The kids seem to "get it" faster than we do! Happy Skyping!

  5. this is incredible! We're so behind you in the states, but you are giving me so much inspiration. What an incredible experience for your kids! It makes me so excited for school to start again.

  6. Hi Rachel

    I used your teacher tube 6-7 year video, why blog for my blog site. My site is for educators and trying to show them samples of ways web 2.0 technology can be integrated into the classroom to engage students, improve learning and assist in collaboration. Please thank the students for their powerful message!

  7. It is great to see so many helpful people out there trying to solve our problem!! I can't wait to hook up again - let's try one afternoon next week... will email you re that.
    I thought it would also be nice for the kids if we each took a photo of our class and labelled the names and sent it to each other so that the kids can start to recognise each other's faces. I will hang it on the wall and I bet they will pour over it. Goodluck for back to school!! Can't wait for our skype innovation to work this time!!


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