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Bayburtian Project 3

Skype: Recommended Synchronous Media for Rachel Carson Elementary School


Lilit Bayburtian
EDTC 620
October 25, 2011

L. Bayburtian Project 3

Introduction
Synchronous media is a technology that allows people to communicate face-to-face
when they are physically not in the same place. One of the synchronous media technologies is
the skype; it provides people with an opportunity to participate in discussions and simple
everyday conversations. According to Stefan Hrastinski, Synchronous learning, commonly
supported by media such as videoconferencing and chat, has the potential to support e-learners in
the development of learning communities. Learners and teachers experience synchronous elearning as more social and avoid frustration by asking and answering questions in real time.
Synchronous sessions help e-learners feel like participants rather than isolates.
I believe Rachel Carson Elementary will
benefit greatly if our school implements the usage
of synchronous media called skype. Skype is a free
and easy way for teachers to open up their
classroom and their students to a world way
beyond their school. With Skype, students can
learn from other students, learn about other cultures
by connecting through skype, and develop their
knowledge in marvelous ways. Skype will also be
beneficial for parents and teachers as well.
When considering new software for our
schools, one of the main decision tipping points is
the cost of that software. Given the budget cuts and
freezes that Montgomery County Public Schools undergo, Skype is a great find. It is free and
easy to use. Out school will probably need to invest in cameras to install on the computers and
we will need to make sure our computers are equipped with a sound card including a microphone
jack or built-in microphone (most Dell desktop computers come with a microphone jack). Skype
will work with a dial-up connection, but broadband (cable or DSL) is best. Most schools Internet
connection are more than sufficient.

L. Bayburtian Project 3

What is Skype?
Skype is a synchronous media that allows its
users to communicate via internet simultaneously. Skype
is an example of a big change in education and the way
lessons are presented. It is an educational tool that can
profoundly change the teaching and learning
environment. As Wayne Morren, principal of Floydada
High School noted, teaching and learning in the 21st
Century can no longer be a traditional experience of sit
and get. Teachers as well as students must strive to
creatively employ technology tools to access, evaluate,
synthesize and communicate information. By using new
and interactive technologies, classroom teachers will
increase student motivation and achievement, motivate
students to spend more time on assigned tasks, while
developing vital learning skills needed in the twenty-first
century.

Advantages and Disadvantages


One of the great advantages of using skype in the classroom is introducing your students to
the outside world. Teaching them about others by actually allowing them to see the people you
are teaching about. Students can communicate to their twenty-first century pen pals. According
to Hrastinski, many e-learners felt that synchronous communication was more like talking
compared with asynchronous communication. It seemed more acceptable to exchange social
support and discuss less complex
issues. Consequently, the higher
sentence counts when communicating
synchronously can be explained by the
fact that the e-learners felt more
psychologically aroused and motivated,
since this type of communication more
closely resembles face-to-face
communication. To help teachers find
classrooms with similar interests, they
can register with Skype in the
Classroom free learning community. It
will allow teachers to easily find other classrooms with similar interests all around the world.
Skype will also will help invite guest into our classroom, guests that otherwise would be
almost impossible to have. We can easily set up conferences with famous authors who would
love to share create new books with eager students, but due to distance would not be able to do
so without the use of Skype. According to Hrastinski, synchronous communication enables
monitoring the receivers reaction to a message, which makes the receiver more committed and

L. Bayburtian Project 3

motivated to read and answer the message. This way the children will be able to fully participate
and lead two-way communication with the guest author.
Another appealing advantage of the Skype in our classroom would be the ability to invite
parents during special presentations and projects. Oftentimes parents are tied up at work and
cant leave for a 15 minute presentation of their child.
Skype will allow them to connect with our classroom
and be present at their childs presentation. Moreover,
the Skype can be used to help sick students participate
in the classroom discussions and be present when
lesson is being taught. For example, a 4th grade teacher
in sparks, Nevada found the resources to connect the
student to his classroom from home using Internet
connected computers, webcams, and Skype, after
learning of a new, homebound 4th grade student in his
class who had leukemia. Teachers will be able to help
both students and teachers simultaneously.

Conclusion
In conclusion, using Skype is simple all you have to do is download the software, create an
account and screen name, and start Skyping other users. You can use Skype in your classroom to
conduct interviews, to connect with students in different countries or peer faculty, to collaborate
on group projects, and to attend remote lectures. It is a great tool that can provide hands-on and
interactive experiences for our students. It engages students and in the end provides them with a
better understanding of the social problems they are studying. Skype videoconferencing is just
one strategy among many we can use in our classroom to promote interactive participation. I
believe, introducing Skype to our students will help our school to greatly advance towards the
future that is very technologically promising and amazing.

References:
Morren,W.(2005)"Podcast8:EducationalVisioninFloydadaISD."SpeedofCreativity
Podcasts.www.speedofcreativity.org,Lubbock,TX.Broadcast.29Sep2005
http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2005/09/14/podcast8educationalvisioninfloydadaisd.
Hrastinski, S. (2006) Participating in Synchronous Online Education, PhD dissertation, Lund
University, 2007, available from http://www.lu.se/o.o.i.s?id=12588&postid=599311.

L. Bayburtian Project 3