February 27, 2019
“In 2015, I saw Skype in the Classroom. I followed the link and was AMAZED! That was exactly what I had been looking for.” – Mirjana Milović, Serbia
English Teacher and Owner of Speak Up English Language School
Discovering a new way to engage students can make teaching exciting and fresh. A few years ago, long-time English teacher Mirjana Milović made one of those discoveries while browsing the internet for new digital tools.
“I have been teaching English for 29 years,” Milović explains, “and my primary goal was to teach my students to communicate, both in written and spoken form. In 2015, I saw Skype in the Classroom. I followed the link and was AMAZED! That was exactly what I had been looking for.”
The first Skype activity Milović tried involved American writer Kristin Hamilton. That activity led to Mystery Skypes and many more global adventures. What started as a communication tool turned into something that made a real difference for Milović’s students. Here’s what some of her 14-year-old students had to say:
“These Skypes have made me see the earth from a completely different perspective! I meet my peers from around the globe only to discover that we are much more similar than different! I learn about their countries through the things I can’t find anywhere else. I have also understood the meaning of the word EMPATHY.”
“I LOVE virtual field trips. I had no idea that there are so many different species in the national parks that might be endangered. I also realized the importance of preserving oceans and nature generally. I LOVED visiting El Boqueron as well.”
The Skype in the Classroom activities are just the start of their learning. Following the lessons, students make either a Sway or PowerPoint presentation of what they have learned. They also enjoy Kahoot — both playing it and making quizzes – and loved the Kahoot World Cup. And they use OneNote for literacy projects and cooperation.
What’s the biggest challenge this experienced educator faces? “With the new generations, the biggest challenge is to keep them focused,” Milović says. “That’s where all the tools I’ve mentioned help me out — fighting with their unwillingness to learn (and study) and enabling them to remember in a conventional way.”
About Mirjana Milović
- Educational background: Teacher of English for 29 years.
- Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: SWAY, PowerPoint, Skype, OneNote, Kahoot.
- Favorite books: Macbeth, The Great Gatsby, Elephants Don’t Bite by Vernon Crawford, and Phantom of the Opera.
- Website I check every day: Facebook (the groups I am in).
- Favorite childhood memory: When my Dad bought me a doughnut that seemed bigger than my palm; at the age of six, I firmly believed it was.
- What is the best advice you have ever received? My Mum’s motto was: “A winner never quits; a quitter never wins.” So, she passed that on me, and I’ve been trying to pass it on to generations of my students.