Trying Social Media in Teaching? You May Want to Visit “Skype in the classroom”

Social Media in Teaching

Image via CrunchBase

Skype in the classroom is a new service currently in beta, which uses skyping to support teaching and teachers. Service capabilities include:

  • Using skype to connect with other teachers
  • Sharing teaching resources
  • Building your own list of favorite Internet destinations – a teaching library
  • Pairing classrooms across the world

The Skype in the classroom website explains the many ways in which teachers use Skype services to enrich their teaching. For example, The Global Learning Exchange uses Skype to pair classrooms in California and Singapore for cultural learning exchange among students. Teach the World Online also uses Skype to teach English online; currently, they describe active teaching programs on-going with students in Haiti, Nepal and Cambodia.

Some Additional Ideas for Using Skype in Teaching

  1. Enabling students to see, hear, and speak with people whom they are studying – such as authors, painters, community leaders, producers, athletes, survivors, kids from other cultures
  2. Online field trips - budget-friendly, time-efficient alternatives to actually leaving the classroom (although we hope that SOME field trips remain real-life adventures)
  3. Field trips to destinations which are too far for the class to reach on their own – think North Pole, Antarctica, Kennedy Space Center, Hawaii’s volcanos, JPL and the Mars rovers; working with museum curators and scientists can help put these places within reach of the classroom using Skype
  4. Foreign language practice
  5. After school help or sick-day attendance from home
  6. Guest lecturers and speakers

From this list, it’s clear that there is a big role for parents to play in using Skype, along with teachers. Parents who want to supplement classroom learning, can do so from home. Parents can also encourage interests and help their children to develop new skills using Skype.

Skype in the classroom is offered by Skype. Skype also offers a community on its main website, on which teachers and others can share how they use the service. However, these communities are more general, without the focus on teachers offered at the Skype in the classroom site.

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New Cyberbullying Study Reveals that Students Bullying Are More Likely Insecure, Negative Towards Teachers

Teen Cyberbullying

Image by Ed Yourdon via Flickr

In a cyberbullying study of 28 New York area high school students in grades 9 and 10, students were asked to fill out a series of extensive questionnaires. The study was conducted by a research team from St. John’s University and published earlier this month.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Most students use text messaging – 96.4%
  • Most students report only visiting web sites which are parent-approved – 53.6%
  • Most students have a Facebook profile – 89.3%
  • There is a weak correlation between a student having a low GPA and being a victim of cyberbullying, or being a perpetrator of cyberbullying
  • There was a high correlation between a student having low self-esteem and/or a negative attitude towards teachers and a student being a perpetrator of cyberbullying

The study’s authors hope that these findings help inform future studies, as the correlation between low self-esteem and teacher negativity might prove to be useful predictors in cyberbullying among teens.

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In The News: NJ Teen Uses Facebook to Cyberbully Peers


Image by J_O_I_D via Flickr

A 14yo boy in Jersey City was arrested this week for using Facebook and the telephone to cyberbully fellow students, according to Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray.

The teen reportedly used a series of fake profiles on Facebook to threaten one victim. As the victim blocked each profile, the teen would open a new fake profile and continue the harassment.

The teen called his victims names and threatened to kill one of his peers, describing a grisly dismemberment using a rope and car. His motivation for these extreme threats? Jealousy over the other boys’ interest in his girlfriend.

The boy faces prosecution and is currently in the custody of his parents. Prosecutors in the case describe cyberbullying as a “serious and growing problem” in  New Jersey. Belleville, where the youth was arrested, has a Cyber Crimes Unit.

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