Skype in the Classroom is a
service offered by Microsoft that enables teachers to connect their classrooms
with experts, other teachers and classes all around the world (Microsoft, 2020b). Skype in
the Classroom requires a teacher to visit the Skype in the Classroom website (www.skypeintheclassroom.com),
sign up using an Office 365 or Microsoft Account, and choose how you would like
your class to participate and set up your classroom profile and availability (Microsoft, 2020a). From
here, you can participate in virtual field trips, guest speaker sessions,
classroom conversations, collaborative project, special events or a game of
Mystery Skype (Microsoft, 2020b). With
language learners, Skype can “play a pivotal role in the development of English
learning proficiency” (Saqib Khan, Ayaz, Khan, & Khan, 2016, p. 41). Skype can assist with the development of
listening, speaking, reading and writing skills for EAL/D students (Saqib Khan et al., 2016)
It is easy to connect with teachers or guest
speakers from all over the world – the search feature is excellent.
It is free.
The use of video assists students in being able
to improve their comprehension as they can look for and use non-verbal cues.
The resources available on the Skype in the
Classroom Site especially for playing a game of Mystery Skype are comprehensive
and provide you with OneNote templates, printouts and lesson plans for the
lessons surrounding the game, not just for the game itself.
Uses equipment we all have – can operate off a
phone or computer.
Allows students to connect with guest speakers
with whom they may never have had the chance in the past. For example, what better way to learn about
the weather than from a meteorologist or learn about a new culture from those
who live the lifestyle.
Once connected Skype has the option to turn on
subtitles to assist with understanding.
Being able to access a guest speaker/class at a
time which would suit your class.
Classes/guest speakers sometimes do not turn up
at the time organised.
Students are unable to organise a Skype in the
Classroom session as it has to be hosted by the educators.
Relies on the quality of the equipment (webcam,
internet connection) of both parties, which means sometimes there are issues
with hearing or seeing the other side well.
Teaching and Learning
Skype in the Classroom is
accessible for all classrooms, from students who are in Preschool to Year 12
including those students who have limited language skills. The amount of teacher input may change
depending on the skill level of the students.
Skype in the Classroom can fit in with any curriculum it just comes down
to selecting the right guest speaker or class to connect with inline with the
curriculum that you are currently working on with the students (Anderson, 2020). The idea
behind using Skype in the Classroom is to improve the language skills
(especially speaking and listening) of students within the context of what they
Anderson, S. (2020, 21st
January) Skype in the Classroom at
JPC/Interviewer: J.-A. Angell.
Microsoft. (2020a). Getting Started with Skype in the Classroom
Educator Guide. Retrieved from
Microsoft. (2020b). Skype in the Classroom. Retrieved from
Saqib Khan, M., Ayaz, M., Khan, S., & Khan, D. (2016). Using
Skype To Develop English Learners’ Speaking Motivation. 28, 41-48.
Feel free to share this post on one of your networks...
2019 disappeared in a blur and in a couple of weeks I will be starting the 2020 school year. This year is going to be an interesting one. My second baby is finishing high school and the journey of being the first cohort through Queensland’s new ATAR system.
My workload in 2019 saw me having six senior subjects and while I have followed three of the classes into 2020 my workload has reduced (at least for the first six months). Not to mention that I am only teaching Economics. I am looking forward to being able to stay in the same discipline all day instead of switching from discipline to discipline each lesson – less chance of confusion! So while still all senior subject it is all ECONOMICS! This means that I can focus on my pedagogy instead.
I know at points last year I lost my way in this area. I at times my lessons have been put together at the last minute due to the number I was teaching and the reduced time I had to prepare. I know this sounds like a lot of excuses however when your a teacher sometimes time is what makes or breaks your planning.
As well as this I will be continuing on my Masters of Education in Online and Distributive Learning and hoping to complete three subjects along with my Micro-Masters in Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement.
Yet again a busy year with lots of potentials. I hope you will join me along the way as I share some of my findings and understandings with you.
Feel free to share this post on one of your networks...
Learning a second language is not an
easy task. I know I tried it for many
years both in foreign language classes (French, Japanese and Spanish) and in a
foreign country (France). I have much
awe for the students in my classes who leave their native country (and home) to
come and complete their senior schooling at our school in Australia. Not only are they trying to understand the
content areas I am trying to teach them, but they are doing it in a language
which is not their own. As a result,
anything that I can do to support them in their learning environment, my
classroom, the better. Like every
teacher, I want my students to achieve the best they can. For an EAL/D student to be successful in my
classroom, I must incorporate Pedagogy, Curriculum and Technology in such a way
that it creates authentic learning experiences both in my subjects and in
ACARA offers an EAL/D framework (Australian
Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2014, pp. 23-28) which
has influenced my approach to teaching all my students as it is not just the
EAL/D students who require language learning.
To best understand my approach to language learning watch the short
During 2019 I have had a Year 10 Economic class. The sixteen students in this class are between 15 and 18 years old. They are a close-knit class of which two-thirds are female and one third are male. Only three students in the class are native English speakers with three more students ascertained at a native speaker level. Those who are not established native speakers have a minimum proficiency level of five on the NLLIA bandscales (Education Queensland, 2018). The international students are all from Asian cultural backgrounds with first languages including Korean, Mandarin, Japanese, Indonesian, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Thai. The native English speakers are all Australian. Two students are gifted and often require extension. Other than a language barrier, there are no learning support needs students. The students are at a large Independent K-12 school in a metropolitan area of Brisbane, Australia. The school is in a middle socio-economic area.
What Does This Look Like in My Classroom?
My approach to language learning is to
use authentic learning experiences which focus on literacy and utilise digital
tools to enhance learning. As part of
the Senior Economics Syllabus students are required to be able to create
extended “responses that communicate economic meaning using data, information,
graphs and diagrams to suit the intended purpose” (Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority, 2018, p. 18). Students are required to respond to an
economic question asking them to evaluate and analyse stimulus material making
connections to the theory and content they have learnt during the unit. Students participate in this learning goal at
the end of each unit of study. When it
is first introduced in unit one, it is a seven-lesson learning experience.
Students participate in a Skype Guest Speaker Session with an economist who provides data about the current state of the Australian Economy surrounding the current topic of study. As the guest speaker presents their information and data students partake in shared note-taking using OneNote. When graphs and diagrams are provided, students use screenshots and annotate them as the speaker explains them. At the end of the session, the economist asks students a question asking them to write a 400-word response which analyses and evaluates an economic event or policy which the economist discussed using the presentation as the stimulus material. From here, the students participate in a workshop which explicitly teaches the writing skills required to write a response which communicates economic meaning. Over the next few lessons, students are working in small groups on a collaborative Word document constructing a joint answer to the economist’s question. A follow-up Skype session is organised for students to present their responses to the economist and receive authentic feedback surrounding their understanding of economic concepts and language. After this, students can improve their responses and continue to practice their skills until they feel confident that they can answer a similar question in exam conditions. By utilising technology and connecting to an expert, the exercise of writing a response to an economic question becomes an authentic experience which also improves language learning. According to Kessler (2018), these experiences support students “in developing autonomy over their own learning and can increase their motivation and also contribute to their engagement” (p. 207).
Role As A Digital Age Teacher
During this learning experience, my role
as a teacher changes from being a guide on the side to learning with the
students to being the sage on the stage.
During the economist’s presentation, I’d be learning with the students,
thus focusing on the learning relationships (andragogy). This lesson also focuses on building shared
knowledge and active involvement (refer to the model above). The focus of the workshop is the explicit
teaching of the genre-specific writing skills required in economics. It is not
only good pedagogy for EAL/D students; it sets up all students for success when
it comes to writing economic responses (Queensland
Curriculum and Assessment Authority, 2018). While the joint responses allow students to work
on demonstration of persistence, active involvement and time management, for
language learners it can assist them, especially when struggling with writer’s
block to look at their group member’s contributions and then build on those
ideas (Kessler, 2018, p. 208). These collaborative writing practices and
knowing that the economist is going to supply them with feedback encourages
them to “participate and support peer and self-editing” (Kessler, 2018, p. 209). Collaborative
writing also allows me to support those students who require further language instruction
in a small group setting. With authentic
feedback from the economist students take control of their learning (heutagogy)
and continue to practice, prepare and revise the language skills they have
gained in the process (see model).
These digital tools (Skype, OneNote, and
a Collaborative Word Document) have been chosen due to their collaborative
nature along with the prevalence of them in various professional settings. Collaborative tools are becoming more and
more commonplace, and we as teachers, must incorporate them into our classroom
settings (Kessler, 2018, p. 214).
At the end of the day, all students
benefit from implementing authentic language learning supported by using
digital tools along with having access to professionals in the disciplines they
are learning. My next steps will be to
share these collaborations with other schools and look at setting up
collaborative projects on a variety of topics within the Senior Economic
As part of my masters research I was required to put my research (see last week’s post) into the use of mobile phones into practice in my classroom. Here is how I applied it…
Teachers often decide to use
technology because it is available or looks “cool” not necessarily because it
is in the best interests of students.
With the need to embrace the smartphone and integrate mobile technology
into the classroom, this essay will discuss the idea of using smartphones in
the classroom using the Technological Pedagogical And Content Knowledge (TPACK)
framework as a method of critically thinking about the issues and implications
of the initiative for the new Queensland Economic General Senior Syllabus. The TPACK framework integrates the three
primary forms of knowledge, Content, Pedagogy and Technology in order to ensure
that there is ‘effective technology integration for pedagogy around specific subject
matter’ (Koehler, 2012).
The relationship between these components of knowledge differs from
context to context (Koehler, 2012).
The context presented for this essay is a large K to 12 private school
on the outskirts of Brisbane, where all students in the Senior Economics course
have access to a smartphone. The focus
for the Economics General Senior Syllabus will be the Modified Markets Unit (Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority,
Within the Modified Markets
Students explore the imperfections within markets and
the economic concept that markets do not always deliver socially desirable or
efficient outcomes. They investigate the causes and effects of market failure
and the measures and strategies that may be used to modify markets in attempts
to maximise economic and social well-being.
Various market interventions are evaluated in terms of their
effectiveness in minimising the short- and long-term consequences of markets
not delivering socially optimal outcomes. (Queensland Curriculum and
Assessment Authority, 2018, p. 20)
The content descriptor which
will be the focus is that students will ‘analyse and evaluate government
strategies and/or interventions to address inequality and measures aimed at
alleviating inequality and improving living standards’ (Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority,
2018, p. 24). Essentially students need to understand (or
know) the strategies and interventions required to address the market failure
of income inequality while being able to use the skills of analysing and
evaluating. The Economics General Senior
Syllabus identifies Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) skills as
part of the 21st-century skills and attributes ‘students need to
prepare them for higher education, work and engagement in a complex and rapidly
changing world’ (Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority, 2018, p. 5). Ultimately students need to be ‘productive
users of technology’ (Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority, 2018, p. 7).
The initial focus is on the
three primary forms of knowledge, content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and
technology knowledge (Koehler, 2012).
Content Knowledge is the subject matter required from curriculum
documents (Digital Learning Futures, 2010). In the case of
Senior Economics, the content descriptor is that of government strategies and
interventions to address inequality.
Students need to know the eight government strategies which address
inequality and be able to analyse and evaluate their ability to improve living
standards. Pedagogical knowledge looks
at how the students learn best and what strategies and techniques will meet
their needs best (Rodgers, 2018).
The pedagogical strategy utilised with this year eleven cohort is
collaboration or working with others (Luckin, et al., 2012). Being able to collaborate and discuss their
ideas, the students find the concepts more accessible. The digital and non-digital tools available
to use in the classroom or Technological Knowledge will focus on video
presentation tools and the use of the smartphone (Digital
Learning Futures, 2010).
With the primary forms of knowledge set in place, the focus now moves to
where they intersect.
The next tier of the TPACK
Framework identifies how each of the forms of knowledge interacts together to
ensure technology is used with purpose.
Pedagogical Content Knowledge is about ‘understanding the best practices
for teaching specific content to your specific students’ (Rodgers, 2018).
In teaching, how the government addresses the problem of income
inequality students need to discuss what each of the strategies and
interventions are and how they solve inequality and improve living standards. As there are no incorrect answers in
economics, it ultimately comes down to how the answer is justified, having
discussions and asking questions ensures students expand their understanding
and viewpoints. Once they have an
understanding of the concepts, they are then able to analyse and evaluate. From here, Technological Content Knowledge is
considered, as there is a need to understand the technology available to
transform the content and how students interact with it (Rodgers, 2018).
To facilitate the discussions, students will use their smartphones and
record their responses and questions in small groups, using the Flipgrid app (Microsoft, 2019). With eight workstations for the students to
work through, the use of smartphones makes the process more comfortable as they
do not need to lug their notebooks around the room. The Technological Content Knowledge that is
required is how to record and edit a video to include titles and stickers,
along with how to upload the video. The
last interaction is Technological Pedagogical Knowledge, which asks an educator
to understand how to use technology as a means to the desired learning outcomes
and experiences (Rodgers, 2018). By responding using a video discussion
platform students share and discuss the content and also have a way to revisit
the discussions long after the lesson has finished (Microsoft, 2019).
Students also have the opportunity to learn skills that they can apply
to other online video platforms.
The last step is to put it
all together; Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge enables powerful
learning (Digital Learning Futures, 2010). In order to ensure students can ‘analyse and
evaluate government strategies and/or interventions to address inequality and
measures aimed at alleviating inequality and improving living standards’ (Queensland
Curriculum and Assessment Authority, 2018, p. 24) students will work
through eight workstations each focused on a different government
strategy. At each station, students will
review the strategy in small groups by discussing how the strategy aims to
alleviate inequality and improve living standards. They will then record using their smartphones
and the Flipgrid App their analysis and evaluation of the government strategy
along with any questions they have on the topic. Once completed students then have the
opportunity to review the collection of videos on each of the strategies and
respond to their peer’s questions further enhancing their understanding. All students had access to this low-floor,
high-ceiling task allowing everyone to engage and succeed, realising their
potential while contributing to the learning of others (Boaler, 2019).
Utilising the new Senior Economics course and the Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework, a pedagogical approach for implementing the use of smartphones and mobile technology into the classroom has been developed. The result was a low-floor, high-ceiling transformational task that ensured that technology was utilised with purpose and not for the sake of integrating technology.
Boaler, J. (2019,
June 5). Our Teaching Approach. Retrieved from YouCubed:
Xhafa, F., & Barolli, L. (2010). Using Mobile Devices to Support Online
Collaborative Learning. Mobile Information Systems 6, 27-47.
Futures. (2010). TPACK Model in a Nutshell. Retrieved June 5, 2019,
from Digital Learning Futures: http://www.learningfutures.com.au/tpack-model
Ertmer, P. A.
(1999). Addressing First- and Second-Order Barriers to Change: Strategies for
Technology Integration. Educational Technology Research & Development,
47(4), 47-61. doi:10.1007/BF02299597
Furlong, M. J.,
& Christenson, S. L. (2008). Engaging Students at School and With
Learning: A relevant Construct for All Students. Psychology in the
Schools, 45(5), 365-368. doi:10.1002/pits.20302
& Peters, R. (2016). Learning from the Learners: Preparing Future
Teachers to Leverage the Benefits of Laptop Computers. Computers In the
Schools, 33(4), pp. 253-273. doi:10.1080/07380569.2017.1249757
E., & Vetere, F. (2008). A Means of Personalising Learning: Incorporating
old and new literacies in the curriculum with mobile phones. Curriculum
Journal, 19(4), 283-292. doi:10.1080/09585170802509872
Hazel, C. E.,
Vazirabadi, G. E., & Gallagher, J. (2013). Measuring Aspirations,
Belonging, and Productivity in Secondary Students. Psychology in the
Schools, 50(7), 689-704. doi:10.1002/pits.21703
Karaca, F., Can,
G., & Yildirim, S. (2013, October). A Path Model for Technology
Integration Into Elementary School Settings in Turkey. Computers and
Education, 68, 353-365. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2013.05.017
Schnellert, G., & Jonas, D. (2014). Mobile Phones in Education:
Challenges and Opportunities for Learning. Education and Information
Technologies, 19(2), 441-450. doi:10.1007/s10639-012-9235-7
Student), Z. (2018). Teachers’ Perceptions of Factors Affecting Their
Adoption and Acceptance of Mobile Technology in K-12 Settings. Computers
in the Schools, 35(1), 49-67. doi:10.1080/07380569.2018.1428001
(2012, September 24). TPACK Explained. Retrieved June 5, 2019, from
Bligh, B., Manches, A., Ainsworth, S., Crook, C., & Noss, R. (2012,
November). Decoding Learning: The Proof, Promise and Potential of Digital
Education. London: Nesta. Retrieved April 8, 2019
Jayahari, K., & Bijlani, K. (2016). A Smart Phone Integrated Smart
Classroom. International Conference on Next Generation Mobile
Applications, Services and Technologies (pp. 88-93). Cardiff: IEEE.
Arnedillo Sanchez, I., Weber, S., & Tangney, B. (2006). Using short
message service to encourage interactivity in the classroom. Computers
& Education, 46, 280-293.
(2019). Flipgrid. Retrieved May 30, 2019, from Flipgrid:
(2012). Don’t Put Your Phones Away. NATE Classroom, Fall(18), 30-32.
(2018, December). Mobile learning usage and acceptance: perceptions of
secondary school students. Journal of Computers in Education, 5(4),
Cerratto-Pargman, T., Eliasson, J., & Ramberg, R. (2013). Exploring the
Challenges of Supporting Collaborative Mobile Learning. In D. Parsons (Ed.), Innovations
in Mobile Educational Technologies and Applications (pp. 178-194).
Hershey, PA: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-2139-8.ch013
Curriculum and Assessment Authority. (2018). Economics 2019 v1.1 General
Senior Syllabus. Brisbane: Queensland Government.
(2018, January 19). The TPACK Framework Explained (With Classroom
Examples). Retrieved June 5, 2019, from Schoology Exchange:
Research. (2016, August 22). 9 in 10 Aussie teens now have a mobile (and
most are already on to their second or subsequent handset). Retrieved
June 4, 2019, from Roy Morgan Research:
Squire, K., &
Dikkers, S. (2012). Amplifications of learning: Use of Mobile Media Devices
Among Youth. The International Journal of Research into New Media
Technologies, 18(4), 445-464. doi:10.1177/1354856511429646
Thomas, K. M.,
O’Bannon, B. W., & Bolton, N. (2013). Cell Phones in the Classroom:
Teachers’ Perspectives of Inclusion, Benefits, and Barriers. Computers in
the Schools, 30(4), 295-308. doi:10.1080/07380569.2013.844637
(2013). ‘‘I don’t think I would be where I am right now’’. Pupil perspectives
on using mobile devices for learning. Research in Learning Technology.21. Association for Learning Technology. doi:10.3402/rlt.v21i0.22116
Walsh, S. P.,
White, K. M., & Young, R. M. (2008, February). Over-connected? A
qualitative exploration of the relationship between Australian youth and
their mobile phones. Journal of Adolescence, 31(1), 77-92.
Feel free to share this post on one of your networks...