Another way that you can create global collaboration with your students is to use video chat to connect with others around the world. Connecting with another person or classroom through video brings a fun update to the pen pal. It can also connect your students with people in another country or experts in fields they’re studying.
A fun way to connect with another classroom is to participate in a Mystery Skype session. These mystery sessions can take place on Skype or Google Hangouts. They are a fun way to connect to other classrooms around the globe. Using yes or no questions, your classroom tries to discover where the classroom you’ve connected with is in the world. To begin, have your students research about the area you live in – think geography, population, climate. Once you’ve got this information, your students are ready to solve a mystery! The classroom you’ve connected with has done similar background research. Both classrooms will go back and forth asking yes or no questions until they figure out the location of the other end of the video chat.
Video can help your students through collaborative learning. Although the curriculum varies from school to school, and country to country, talking about general issues that are relevant to your classroom can open your students’ eyes to how another country thinks about that topic. Try connecting with a classroom in Europe when learning about European history. Or connect with a classroom in Mexico when fine-tuning Spanish language skills.
Video chat can also be used to invite a guest to speak to your students. Just like a field trip, sometimes geography hinders us from being able to get a special guest speaker to speak with students. Offering the guest speaker a video chat option can help take the stress off of them since they can speak to your students from the comfort of their own office or home. Does your class have a book they’ve enjoyed? Check the author list at Skype an Author Network to see if the book’s author will video chat with your classroom!
A great reminder for students is to be patient with the learning process through video chat. Some connections may be poor, especially if you or the other classroom or person you are trying to reach has a poor internet connection, or is relying on a public internet connection.