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Skype and Google Hangouts

Page history last edited by dawntush 6 years, 2 months ago

Credit goes to Ditch That Textbook


 SkypeInTheClassroom.com -- This is my go-to first option for finding another classroom to partner with. When you go there, use the "Skype Lessons," "Skype Collaborations," or "Mystery Skype" buttons. You'll find other teachers and the projects and lessons they're working on.


The Connected Classrooms community on Google Plus lets you reach tens of thousands of educators to help you find the perfect virtual guest/classroom.


How do I make the video call?

It's as easy as creating an account. 

  • Skype can be run from Skype software that you download OR on done on the web. (Note: As of publication of this post, it's not possible to do a video/voice Skype call on a Chromebook.)
  • Once you have a Google account, Hangouts can be accessed at hangouts.google.com. (If your school has disabled Hangouts, sometimes logging in with a personal Gmail account can work -- if you're OK with doing that.)

You can run whole group video calls from your teacher computer/laptop with a projector -- or even with an iPad mirrored to a projector.


Some more video call ideas and guidance ...

In episode 38 of the Google Teacher Tribe podcast, co-host Kasey Bell and I discuss many ways Google Hangouts can be used in the classroom. We also share some tips and tricks for making it successful.

You can see the full show notes here, or use the player below to listen!



1. Mystery Skype -- This is the classic icebreaker activity. It's loved by virtually all age groups. I've had plenty of high school kids get giddy about a Mystery Skype call. It's a global guessing game where you ask yes/no questions to another class in hopes of eventually guessing in which state/country they live. There are TONS of resources about doing Mystery Skype calls. (Of course, these can be done with Google Hangouts or FaceTime or any other video call platform).

2. Collaborative writing/creating -- Instead of giving students an assignment to write or create something with new knowledge, assign it to that student AND another student from your partner class. They could chat about their ideas and plans on a one-on-one video call (see above). Once that's done, they can collaborate directly inside a shared Google Doc or online Word document.

3. Shared slide presentation -- This activity gives every student a space to write, create or think visually. When students are done with their individual work, they can see each other's slides and add comments. This creates digital discussions about what they're studying.

How to set it up: Create a slide presentation (Google Slides, PowerPoint Online, etc.) with enough slides for every student in both classes. (In fact, create a few just to be safe.) Use the "Share" button and share that presentation with every student, giving them edit rights ("Anyone with the link can edit" or "Anyone in <<your district/organization>> can edit"). Students then jump into the slide presentation and find a blank slide to claim. (I suggest that they type their name in the title part of the slide.)

4. Distance Kahoot!/Quizizz game -- Kahoot! and Quizizz are lots of fun, but you can take it to the next level by doing one with your partner class! This way, students can play not only against their classmates in person but also with their classmates from afar.


How to set it up: Create a Kahoot! / Quizizz game or find one you want to use. Start a whole group video call with the other class. Have students log on to their devices in both classes and go to the Kahoot! / Quizizz "join game" page. Display the webpage you'd show students on your projector AND do a screen share on that screen on the video call. Run the game as you normally would -- but with both classes!

(Note: Network and Internet bandwidth issues may cause problems with this. The class receiving a Kahoot! game via video call will be at a disadvantage because of the slight delay the video call creates. Just know all of this before trying it ... but still give it a try!)


5. Presenting to the group -- If you have students do oral presentations to the class at the end of a lesson or unit, bring your partner class in, too! They can ask questions, share reflections and give feedback as well.

6. "Stump me" game -- How well do your students know their stuff? Have both your class and the partner class create quiz questions to ask each other. Make it a game, or play just for fun!

7. Paired or individual discussions -- Use the one-on-one call instructions above to let students talk individually, in pairs, or in small groups. They can be formal questions with pre-determined discussion questions, free discussions about whatever students are curious about, or somewhere in between.

8. Curating resources with Padlet -- Padlet is like a digital bulletin board. One person (or a whole class ... or TWO whole classes) can add virtual sticky notes with text, images, links and more. Create a Padlet wall and share it with both classes so that they can all edit. Have students share links to resources or ideas about content they're studying in one place. 

9. Awesome Squiggles -- This is a global art challenge for PreK-12 students. They get four squiggly lines and are challenged to create art based on those lines. Students enter from all over the world. For more information, go to awesomesquiggles.weebly.com

10. Global Read-Aloud -- In this program, books are chosen for different grade levels and assigned to participating classes. Those classes get connected with other classes from around the world to read together and discuss what they've read. For more information, go to theglobalreadaloud.com.

11. Literacy Month -- Literacy Month combines World Read Aloud Day (different from the Global Read Aloud above) and World Book Day. Skype makes hundreds of guest speakers available, including authors, illustrators, and other literacy partners. For more information, go to education.microsoft.com/literacy.

12. Virtual Valentines -- ´╗┐The Virtual Valentines Project is an easy, free project designed to teach students geographical awareness and cultural understanding while connecting classrooms all around the world for Valentine's Day. For more information, go to virtualvalentines.weebly.com.

13. Any lesson found on Skype Education site -- Skype lessons are live learning activities given by experts via Skype around a specific topic or theme. Choose one and participate in it together with your partner class! For more information, click on this link.

14. Sharing culture (songs, food, customs, etc.) -- If your partner class is far geographically from your students, chances are there are some differences between life there and life in your community. Whether in the same country or not, share and compare the important parts of life.

15. Perspectives on history and current events -- History and the news can be portrayed very differently in different locations. Talk about past or current issues with your partner class, on how they've been presented, and on their feelings about them based on their unique life experiences.

16. Respond to a Flipgrid -- Once you're connected to a partner class, not everything has to happen on a video call. Use Flipgrid (flipgrid.com) to pose a prompt or question to both classes and let students record short video responses to it. Once they've recorded, they can listen to each other's short Flipgrid videos. Give closure to the activity with a whole-class debrief of the activity.

17. Draw responses on Formative -- The ways we represent ideas visually may be different based on our location. Having students draw representations of what they've studied on a "show your work" drawing question in Formative (goformative.com) has many benefits. It makes a concrete visual connection to new content. Plus, it can show how new ideas can be perceived differently based on location.

18. Have one teacher teach both classes -- Between you and your partner teacher, is one of you more of an expert at a certain topic? Does one have experiences to share that the other doesn't? Take advantage of that great opportunity and let that teacher teach both classes! This also frees up the other teacher to circulate around the room and answer questions -- or to field questions from students in the other class via Google Classroom, a TodaysMeet backchannel or more.

19. Take on a service project together -- Is there a cause that's near and dear to your hearts -- or your curriculum? Help students take action in your class and your partner class with a join service project. Raise money. Volunteer. Make something to send to a worthy recipient. And tie all of the activities that lead up to it to academic standards.

20. Celebrate! -- After a year (or a semester or unit) of hard work and collaboration, celebrate together to further build the bond between your students and those in your partner class.











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