What a blast! Today's last philosophy class before the Christmas break was a whopper with both existentialism and nihilism on the agenda. (It's a high school philosophy class so the content is simple and accessible for the kids.) Two students had notified me that they'd be missing today's class and suggested that they skype in and follow along. We set it up, gave them a call and had their smiling faces (of course they're smiling; they're in Florida) projected up onto the screen. My students loved it and for the first ten minutes, the class was all about the tech, waving at one another and asking about someone's bubba in Florida. But then we settled down and got into the nitty gritty of the day. There were some microphone/sound issues but we worked out the kinks.
In my English class, another student has set her sights on getting Jeannette Walls (we just read her memoire) to skype into the class. That would be so cool.
Skype has wonderful potential for the classroom. Think of the incredible connections we can make! Guest speakers who might not otherwise make it to school can connect directly with the students via skype. Students who are not able to be physically present in the classroom can now particpate via skype.
I can see those classroom walls crumbling...