October 10, 2013 by Brad Currie
Today I witnessed the power of Skype in the classroom setting. Mrs. Kathy Werner, one of our outstanding 7th grade Spanish teachers, leveraged the power of Skype to expose students to the culture of Spain. Through a connection a student’s parent has with a college friend, the class was able to ask questions about what life is like in Spain. For example, Angelo asked “What are your favorite sports to play and who do you root for?” Megan asked “Do people in Spain really take “siestas” all the time?” She was surprised to find out that they are less common than we think. Jared wanted to know more about The Running with the Bulls and if they had ever “experienced” the event. Other questions focused on occupations, food, time of day, and how life is different compared to the United States.
Throughout the entire lesson students were formulating their own questions and interacting with an authentic source. To top things off, at the end of the conversation an agreement had been made for Mrs. Werner’s students to begin a pen pal program with a group of students in Spain. The students from Spain will work on their English and our kids will work on their Spanish. This learning experience was a win-win for all involved. The power of Skype is strong and enables the world we live in to be more accessible. I truly believe that the more students experience others through this sort of technology, the more tolerant they will become, which in turn makes our world a better place. Today’s world language lesson was a prime example of what’s right with technology and how education is globalized in so many ways.