3 Ways to Participate in the 2017 Skype-a-Thon: Presented by @MicrosoftEDU

Microsoft Innovative Educator

In this episode of the Microsoft Innovative Educators: Spotlight Series Podcast, we take a look at this years Hack the Classroom event with California educator Tammy Dunbar and learn how you can prepare your students for the 2017 Skype-a-Thon from Paul Watkins and Gina Ruffcorn..  This year, classrooms from across the world will be connecting to each other through millions of miles of Skype video calls to celebrate this year's theme “Open Hearts, Open Minds” on November 28-29.

There are several ways that you can participate in this years Skype-a-thon.   To register your class, please visit www.Skypeathon.com.  During the event, the world will be following the Twitter hashtag #Skypeathon to share their experiences.  We hope you and your students join us as the world unites for a fantastic global activity.

In this episode, we discuss 3 ways that your classroom can participate in this years Skype-a-Thon:

  • Virtual Speakers
    • By using Skype, you can bring in experts from all industries to speak with your students.  This is a great way for classrooms of all subjects and grade levels to have authentic learning experiences with industry leaders and professionals. Click for more information.
  • Mystery Skype
    • A Mystery Skype is an opportunity for your students to connect with students from around the world.  By playing a game, similar to “20 Questions” students ask yes or no questions to find the location of their guests.  This is a great way to bring in critical thinking and collaboration skills into your classroom. For more information: www.mysteryskype.com
  • Virtual Field Trips
    • One of the best ways to bring the world into your classroom is by connecting with museums from around the world through Virtual Field Trips.  Click for more information.

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About our Guests

Tammy Dunbar

Tammy Brecht Dunbar, M.Ed., S.T.E.M., is a 5th-grade teacher in Manteca (CA) Unified (USA) and a pre-service technology instructor at Teachers College of San Joaquin. Tammy believes the most important 21st Century tool in any classroom is the attitude of the teacher. “Teachers need to be comfortable tackling the challenges of using technology in front of their students and modeling how to overcome obstacles,” says Tammy. Tammy agrees with Bill Goodwyn, CEO of Discovery Education: “The motherboard and the memory chip will never replace the passion and inspiration of a real-life teacher. Technology doesn’t teach. Teachers teach.”

Paul Watkins

Paul Watkins is a teacher at Microsoft Showcase School Ysgol Bae Baglan (pronounced Us-gol Bi Bag-lan) in Port Talbot, Wales. An IT/Computing teacher of 12 years, Paul is currently the acting leader of digital learning where he focuses on staff development, innovative teaching, and digital competency. He is a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, MIE Master Trainer, Microsoft Certified Educator and a Skype Master Teacher. Paul also sits on the Welsh Government’s National Digital Learning Council

Starting 8 am on November 28th through till 8 pm on 29th staff and pupils will be taking part in a sponsored event that will see the teachers completing a total of 36hours and pupils  (from a class aged 10 to 11 years old) 24hours of skyping around the world.  Pupils will sleep in the school whilst the teachers continue to skype through the night.  During this time(when the pupils are sleeping) the teachers will offer three different connections: 1. Mystery Skype 2: Skype Kahoot 3: Getting started with Skype In The Classroom Training.  The aim is to complete at least one call every hour for the duration of the challenge.  We are so thankful to have the support of one of Europe’s top rugby teams – Ospreys, who will be joining us for both days with a different quad member attending each to play some mystery skype.  As well as the Ospreys we have been thrilled with the support from some of the UK's top professional soccer teams, with one, Everton, skyping the pupils from the stadium during a Premier League match.  All money raised will go towards the purchase of equipment for a school for refugee children in Kenya, Africa who depend upon Skype to enhance the education they receive.

MEC link to the Challenge where you can sign up to connect with Paul and his students: https://education.microsoft.com/gobig

Gina Ruffcorn131

Gina Ruffcorn is a Skype in the Classroom Guide, Skype Master Teacher Founding Member, Skype Master Teacher Mentor, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and GoNoodle Event Squad Member. She has also been honored with ambassadorships from GoNoodle, SpellingCity and PenPal Schools. She has a Bachelors Degree from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake Iowa and a Masters degree in literacy and 21st-century technologies from the University of Nebraska in Omaha. She teaches in a 5th-grade self-contained classroom at West Harrison Community School in Mondamin, Iowa.  She’s also the Technology Integrationist for her school district.

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This weeks question is:

 How will your classroom be participating in this years Skype-a-Thon?

Please share your stories in the comments section below.

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