Well, Skype session #1 is in the books! Overall, I’d say it was a success. Despite the fact that I couldn’t get Skype to work on my school computer in the morning, by class time we were ready to go! We chatted with Mrs. Wren’s (@Mwren13) students in Illinois. My 3rd graders chatted with her 2nd, and 3rd graders. We each shared a song we know and then we had a short Q&A afterward. It was fun for my kids to hear the other kids playing and singing and it made it more real to them to have an authentic audience for their own music. I think they particularly enjoyed getting to hear another group of kids playing recorders!
Most of the feedback I got from students was positive. They seemed to really enjoy getting to meet another group of kids. Many of them commented that they wished they’d have had more time to ask the kids questions. Most of them wished we could do it again, so I will hopefully be able to set this up again next year. I think it would be fun to do a “mystery music Skype” and have to ask the other class questions to figure out where they are.
As a teacher, one thing I’d change would be to try to get a better video quality. The kids really enjoyed meeting the other students, but it was hard to see their faces clearly. Being able to do so would make it that much more “real” for them. The other thing that was difficult is that the other classes’ music times didn’t line up exactly with mine. One group had almost the whole half hour, while the other had only about 15 minutes. In a perfect world, I’d find a school who had similar class times to ours so we can get the most time possible.P
I’m going to encourage other teachers in my building to try this as well. I think it could be really effective to set up a pen pal relationship between two classes and have them write back and forth all year, with some live chats thrown in.
Have you connected with another class via Skype? How did it go?