Monday, April 27, 2015

Google Hangouts or Skype: Which, When & Why?

The use of technology in our schools is bringing the world to our students. Thus, understanding how to best harness various technologies to get the most out of what your school has is essential.

Many schools focus on the SAMR Model when envisioning where they want the technology initiatives in their schools to take their students.  The ability to videoconference is one of these important technology tools that can kick your school's technology initiative into the higher levels of SAMR.

No matter what resource you decide to use, the important thing is to get kids connecting and collaborating with others. 

Many videoconferencing tools exist, my two favorites are Skype in the Classroom and Google Hangouts (Google Hangouts on Air).  

I use these two resources in two very distinctly different ways.  

Google Hangouts on Air:  

HERE is my presentation about using Google Hangouts at NCCE 2015.  It contains step by step picture directions! YAY!  

You can also watch me present about Google Hangouts for SimpleK12 HERE

Lee's Summit R-7 School District in Lee's Summit, MO has an all inclusive Google Hangouts Guide for Teachers.  The link I like best on this site is the one that takes you to a collaborative Google Document with amazing ideas collected from the #eduhangout group.  You can add how YOU have used Google Hangouts HERE.

Skype in the Classroom:

The best part of this post is near the end where they share stories from teachers who successfully used Skype in their classrooms for a variety of projects. To me, real learning takes place when we reflect on what we did in the classroom with our students and then share our successes and pitfalls/failures with others.

1- Working on a history project using Skype
This is a story of 7th  grade students who have used Skype as a part of their history project that resulted in their collaboration with the curator of the National Museum in Canada 
2- Using Skype to help a classmate join classroom from homeRead this post to learn how a 4th grade class used Skype to help a classmate with leukemia become a part of the classroom from her home.
3- Connecting two classes using Skype
learn how this teacher brought two classes, who had been tweeting all semester, to finally get together and meet face-to-face via Skype.
4- Using Skype in classroom language
Find out how this teacher used Skype to help her students learn a foreign language from native speakers of that language.

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