An estimated half a million students from over 100 countries will connect during Skype-a-Thon on November 13th and 14th. Each year, this 48-hour global learning event brings classrooms together, using Skype to not only deepen students’ understanding of the world beyond their classroom walls, but to help them become global citizens.
Participating classrooms travel “virtual miles” via Skype to talk to thousands of volunteer guest speakers about topics like conservation, history, animals, computer science, and more, or to simply share in song and dance, games, reading, stories, and virtual field trips.
This event is always special, but this year is extra special: By participating and travelling those virtual miles, your students can help other students in need. Microsoft is partnering with the nonprofit WE for Skype-a-Thon 2018 to help support access to quality education for children around the world.
For every 400 virtual miles traveled by Skype-a-Thon participants, Microsoft will donate to WE, an organization that makes doing good doable. WE Schools, a free service-learning program, helps students domestically and WE Villages, a holistic, sustainable international development model, helps students internationally.
The model is built on five pillars of impact – Education, Water, Health, Food and Opportunity. Microsoft’s donation will support WE Village’s Education pillar to provide access to education for children overseas and support UN Sustainable Development Goal #4 – Quality Education. If we reach our goal of 14 million virtual miles, together we can support up to 35,000 children across nine WE Villages partner communities. The donations will be tailored to each village’s unique needs, funding everything from construction of new classrooms and libraries, to school supplies, to teacher training.
Craig Kielburger, Co-Founder of WE, is as excited as we are and recently shared with me that he can’t wait to “embrace the collective energy and passion created during this event and turn it into real impact for thousands of children in need.”
In addition to teaching kids about giving back, Skype-a-Thon continues to be a fun and engaging way for teachers to help students build empathy and compassion. Sara Arlotti, Executive Director for Hearts on Fire, has partnered with Skype-a-Thon to motivate thousands of students across the globe to #BeTheSpark of compassion and change in their own communities. She says she believes the annual program has “opened the hearts and minds of students and teachers by bringing social change rock stars to the classroom.”
Sign up today!
- Register and download the Skype-a-Thon Step by Step Activity Plan to help you organize and prepare your students for their virtual Skype adventures.
- Get ideas and learn from teachers who have participated in the past with their students in the Skype-a-Thon Flipgrid.
- Schedule Skype calls with other classrooms or guest speakers via the Skype in the Classroom website for November 13-14 for your miles to be counted towards our goal.
- Download the Skype-a-Thon Teacher Toolkit filled with resources for your classroom from passports, certificates, posters, social media examples, and activities to track your miles and the impact each of your connections made to the world.
- Share your plans and goals with the Skype in the Classroom (@SkypeClassroom) community before and after the event with #skypeathon and #MicrosoftEDU. See ideas in our social media guide.
To learn more about how you and your classroom can support UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #4: Quality Education and other SDGs through WE, check out the free WE Schools Service Learning Kit.
“Skype-a-Thon is a huge highlight each school year for my third graders! This year, in addition to adding up our miles to places like Antarctica, India and more, we’ll be directly helping kids around the world support UN SDG #4 Quality Education. My class is going to try to travel 10,000 virtual miles so we can help 25 children in need in WE Villages! Having teachers come together to #TeachSDGs through the #skypeathon is a major step in helping to improve our world.”
– Amy Rosenstein, 3rd grade teacher, Ardsley, New York, Westchester County NY School District