Our annual Skype-a-Thon is here again, connecting thousands of classrooms to help open hearts and open minds. In our increasingly complex world this could not be more important. The students of today represent our hope for a better tomorrow. They are building our future.
This annual event is a celebration of the power of connecting students to each other globally, and an opportunity to teach greater empathy and compassion for our planet and for each other. Through sharing stories and projects, playing games, and collaborating on similar subjects, students’ hearts and minds are opened, allowing them to become more engaged global citizens.
Skype-a-Thon is a 48-hour event in which we, as a global community, count the distance all students travel virtually during any Skype calls made from November 28th through November 29th. Last year, thousands of classrooms participated across all seven continents. This year we’re setting a goal for our global community to travel over 10 million virtual miles, and aiming to connect nearly half a million students.
As someone fortunate enough to visit classrooms around the world, I’m always heartened to see today’s students learning about global citizenship. One of the best ways they are gaining this knowledge is by using video communications technologies, like Skype. Classrooms are opening their walls to connect with different cultures and environments that can offer different perspectives, and model compassion for each other, the environment, and the health and welfare of students and their neighbors, near and far.
The impact of these experiences is best realized through the voices of the students participating.
“The world seems really large, and it would take a long time to go all way around it. But with things like Skype it seems so small.” – Quentin, 8th Grade
Classrooms also use Skype to connect virtually with guest speakers, in fields of study where local experts are not available. They also take virtual field trips to visit landmarks and places of interest.
We created the Microsoft Global Skype-a-Thon to shine a light on the value of these virtual experiences. It’s been exciting to see thousands of teachers and students participate to celebrate this kind of teaching, and to learn about empathy and appreciation of others and our world.
How do you join and have your students Skype with other classrooms and professionals?
There are many ways to get started and engage with this year’s Skype-a-Thon. You can Skype with a classroom in another country, play Mystery Skype or share traditions and stories, take a virtual field trip to a place of interest, or get great advice from an expert during a Skype call with a guest speaker.
Visit skypeathon.com to plan your experiences and decide how many virtual miles your classroom can travel over the 48-hour celebration of global learning!
New to Skype in the Classroom? That’s ok! Here’s how to get started:
- Sign-up on the Skype-a-Thon page: skypeathon.com
- Once you are signed up on the Microsoft Educator community, you can schedule a Skype call for November 28-29. Here you’ll be able to find a Skype activity in which to participate with your class. It could be any of the following Skype Classroom activities:
- Skype with another class
- Skype with a Microsoftie
- Skype with a guest speaker
- Once you have scheduled your Skype calls for your students, share your plans and goals and virtual destinations. During the event, please share your experience and miles traveled with us on social networks using #skypeathon and #MicrosoftEDU.
Don’t miss the TweetMeet on Nov. 21, 10:00AM PST, in which you can talk to other educators about how they’re prepping for Skype-a-Thon.
Please join us on Nov. 28 to make this Skype-a-Thon another exciting journey through open hearts and open minds. To learn more, visit skypeathon.com today.
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— Microsoft Education (@MicrosoftEDU) October 31, 2017