Last week was Microsoft’s Skype-a-Thon. The Skype-a-Thon was a two day event aimed at bringing awareness to a teacher’s ability to connect with experts and educators all over the world and virtually bring them into their classroom for engaging lessons and collaboration. After everything was said and done, educators from all over the world traveled more than three million virtual miles during the Skype-a-Thon, which shattered Skype’s goal of a million virtual miles. Our district was responsible for about 20,000 of those virtual miles.
The highlight of our district’s Skype-a-Thon was when one of our third grade classes Skyped with Skype! We were lucky to have Ross Smith, Director of Customer Engineering at Skype, and Amrita Ray, Senior Data Scientist at Skype, talk to our students about what they do and the important role technology will play in their futures. It was one of the most enjoyable Skypes I’ve ever taken part in.
I made sure I captured this Skype for our latest installment of Kid Vision, the project where we take a look at engaging lessons through the eyes of our students. Enjoy the latest Kid Vision!
A couple weeks ago, the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program stopped by our schools. Students in both our schools, a few hundred in grades first through eighth grade, got to try out Google Expeditions and give feedback on their experience.
I first tried Google Expeditions about six months ago and thought it was cool, but didn’t see the big classroom appeal. After seeing the updates and watching my kids and teachers use Expeditions, I’m sold on the concept. Google Expeditions isn’t and shouldn’t be thought of as a replacement for real class trips or career day, but I think it is a great way to enhance a lesson and expose students to careers and places they may never get to “see.”
“School districts are eliminating high school shop classes for a number of reasons, but the bottom line, of course, is money. The American secondary educational system pumps as many of its competent students as possible into college. At the same time, large numbers of marginal students are placed into special-education programs, which qualify for large amounts of Federal and state funds.
Unfortunately for those in the middle, who might want to make a living with their hands, not to mention those who might want to hire them to do a job, trade classes like print shop and wood shop and home economics no longer fit easily into the educational bureaucracy’s pattern of what constitutes a comprehensive liberal education for the 21st century.”