I use Skype in the Classroom to bring the world to my students. We can connect with peers across the globe, talk with experts in the content area we are studying, and take virtual field trips to all corners of the Earth. Students can be authentic learners, doing first-hand research instead of simply looking up information in a book or online. Connecting with others through Skype helps my students to become emotionally engaged in the academic material. They are much more interested in learning and better able to retain the information if they are able to have real-world, authentic experiences. Collaborating with peers in different parts of the world teaches my students to be creative problem-solvers, using communication and critical thinking skills to tackle real-world problems, and empowering them to know that they can change the world.
As an educator teaching 21st century learning skills, it is my duty to teach my students to become global citizens. As technology advances, the world is becoming smaller and our students will have greater access than anyone before them to connect with others around the world. By exposing students to other cultures and viewpoints, we are helping to make the world safer by breaking down the barriers of ignorance, fear, and the unknown. Students learn that there is no “us and them,” but only other peers who have the same hopes and dreams, interests and values as they have; that there is far more that binds us together than keeps us apart. Skype in the Classroom helps to bridge the physical divide of oceans and continents by allowing students to connect on a personal level, developing empathy and learning to recognize a person for the character of their heart.