S is for Skype!

Want to connect for free (or cheaply) with people all over the world?  Want to make video phone calls?  Skpye is a free way to do that!  All you need is your computer, a web cam (and East and GWC each have one you can borrow), and a free download!

Here are the steps:

1. Download and install Skype here.

2. Follow directions to create a Skype account!

3. Start calling.

For a step-by-step how-to guide, click here.

How do you use this in the classroom, you ask?  Lots of ways!

  • call another class in a different area of the world to find out about their home
  • call an “expert” on a topic you are studying
  • have someone dress up as a famous person or book character and call your class
  • play a game with another classroom at a different school
  • write riddles for other classes to guess
  • share writing

Can you think of other ways?

A few of our classes have been using Skype to connect with classrooms in different areas.  Mrs. Barnett’s Fourth Grade at East talked with students in Virginia Beach to learn more about the Tidewater Region of VA.
http://www.flickr.com/slideShow/index.gne?user_id=7637800@N06&tags=skypebarnett
Created with flickr slideshow.

Mrs. Hall’s Fourth graders at GWC answered the questions of a couple of students in Wisconsin who were doing state reports.
http://www.flickr.com/slideShow/index.gne?user_id=7637800@N06&tags=skypehall
Created with flickr slideshow.

A is for Animoto

I love Animoto (and have blogged about them in the past here and here).  It’s an incredibly easy way to create a sophisticated video from still pictures.  While you can create 30 second videos with a basic account, they also offer accounts for educators which allow you unlimited access.

It’s very simple to use.  Just upload your pictures to the site, add text (if you want), and pick your music (they have a lot to choose from).  Then Animoto does of the work for you by putting your music and pictures together in a professional looking way!  Here’s a quick animoto of some of the younger grades at East Salem using technology.

http://widgets.clearspring.com/o/46928cc51133af17/4995a5ff88357882/46928cc565ffaf02/9c034fa0/-cpid/7e583ab144659622/autostart/false/widget.js

I’ve blogged about Animoto in the past.  To read more or see other examples, click here and here.