Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Skype in the Classroom

Do you want to take your students on a field trip, but don�t have the time/money/resources to plan it? Were you hoping to use the Google Cardboard kits, but they�re already booked for when you wanted to use them? Have no fear! Skype in the Classroom is here!

Skype in the Classroom is just what it sounds like�.Skype�.in your Classroom. Project the Skype session for your class, and then students can take turns asking questions in front of the webcam. On the Skype in the Classroom website, there are several options of how you can use Skype to create a powerful learning experience for your students. You can take virtual field trips, meet with a guest speaker, or Mystery Skype with another classroom across the world.

Check out all the virtual field trip options! You can search by grade level, content area, language, region, or availability. Once you find a trip that you like, request the date/time (keep in mind time zone conversions if applicable), and then someone will get back to you.

A few tips�.
  1. When you want to request a session, you will be prompted to login. Select Office 365, and then login with your CCSD account. If this is the first time you have logged in, set up your time zone so times will automatically convert to Mountain Time.
  2. If you teach middle or high school and want to skype with all of your periods, make sure to indicate that when you submit your request.
  3. Find a couple of virtual field trips that interest you and request all of them as far in advance as possible, just in case one doesn�t work out.
  4. Have your students prepare questions beforehand so that they can take turns on the webcam. Also, check the Skype website to see if there are lessons to supplement the field trip.
  5. If you can�t find what you�re looking for, try tweeting @SkypeClassroom. They are very responsive on Twitter and will do their best to find something that works for you.

In addition to virtual field trips, Skype also has guest speakers and Mystery Skype. Mystery Skype is very similar to Mystery Hangouts, in which you arrange a Skype or Hangout session with another teacher, but your students do not know where in the world the other class is located. They have to prepare questions ahead of time and work together to solve the mystery. This could be great for geography or foreign language classes.

If you would like help in setting up Skype in the Classroom or Mystery Hangout, let us know! We would love to work with you!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Media Production Filming Tools for Checkout

Several years ago (ahem, a couple decades ago), I had to record myself teaching in order to complete an assignment for a college class. My professor asked us to reflect on our teaching as we watched what was captured by the video camera. I didn�t have my own video camera, but the school in which I worked had one that my cooperating teacher used to film me working with students for an hour. The camera was similar to this and my teacher followed me around the room the entire time so the microphone would capture our interactions.

image of an RCA VHS Video camera
Note: Media Production does not have a video camera this old for checkout.

While watching the interactions between me and my students that evening (by myself, because I didn�t want anyone else to see the tape!), after I got over the discomfort of watching myself, I really was able to reflect on how the lesson went. There were student behaviors I missed while focusing on other kids and I wrote about how I could improve my next lesson. I turned in the write up to my professor and never watched the tape again.

Well, technically, I couldn�t watch the tape again because I used it to record episodes of Northern Exposure.

Since then, I�ve gained a lot of confidence in my teaching ability, but I know I still have a lot to learn. And while it�s wonderful to have a colleague in the room to observe and provide feedback, reviewing video of the time spent with students can be an amazingly valuable part of the reflection process.

If you are interested in filming for self-reflection, Media Production can help! You can hook up your cell phone or tablet to a SWIVL robot and record your interactions with students. It�s easy to set up and much less intrusive than having a colleague follow you all over the room.


This isn�t the only video tool you can check out through Media Production. We also have Caddie Buddies, one for a phone and one for a tablet. These allow you to easily and safely carry a phone or tablet around as a recording device. They can also be secured to a tripod (also available for checkout).

Are you interested in checking out equipment? Please email Tammy Myslivy, or call her at x45012.
Media Production is located in the Student Achievement Resource Center (SARC) at 14188 E. Briarwood Ave, Centennial, 80112, behind the Centennial Medical Plaza on Arapahoe Road. Our office is open to staff and parent volunteers working on classroom projects Monday through Friday, 8:00 to 4:30.

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