Thursday, March 31, 2011

Aunt Betty Skypes

Today Aunt Betty had a new experience. She Skyped with a school- in Michigan. Pansophia Academy is a school in Coldwater, Michigan. I met the librarian at a recent workshop. Her school planned a read-a-thon, so she asked Aunt Betty to share a story with her school.

Enter Skype (or Google Voice and Video Chat). Skype offers free audio and video chats, all for the downloading of the software. You can talk (and see) someone from anywhere in the world without leaving your house. How about Skyping with an author? Try a Virtual Visit. Check out for more ideas about how to use video chats in your classroom.

To do this with a guest speaker you will want to do a few things ahead of time.

1. Download Skype,
2. Invite your speaker to be a contact within Skype.
3. Check your Privacy settings in Skype.
4. Get an LCD projector to connect to your computer.
5. Get speakers- you may need to place a microphone near your speakers, depending on the size of your audience.
6. Do a practice test with your guest before there is an audience.
7. You may want to use a USB web cam so that if you want to show other things in the room, you won’t have to move the whole computer.

Because we used a USB web cam, Aunt Betty was able to show her office and a Google map of the distance between San Diego and Coldwater, Michigan. We sang a song together and Aunt Betty told the true story of the Itsy Bitsy Spider.

As my mama always says, “a good time was had by all.” Try it. You’ll like it.

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