Last month I posted a tweet on Twitter asking for help to set up a Skype session with an ancient Egyptian museum so that the Year 6 children in my school could have a great learning experience. There were many replies, one great tip led to the Petrie Museum and today that all came to an amazing and successful conclusion with many children describing it as the best lesson they ever had.
I was put in contact with Tracey Golding, who works in the Petrie Museum, and was extremely keen to find out about my suggestion of using Skype to let the children find out more about their current Ancient Egypt topic. However, last week the whole event almost met a sudden end as I discovered that Skype is blocked for use in schools by our network provider (EMBC) but that is another story altogether. I found a way around the issue and after an impromptu test session with Tony Shepperd and I spoke with Tracey for the first time yesterday. Technical issues were sorted and this morning the whole of Year 6 crammed into one room and awaited Tracey’s call. There was nervous anticipation when the arranged time came and went but then the ringing went across the room and a cheer went up. The class was buzzing before we had even answered the call. Tracey was brilliant especially so as it was her first ever Skype call and it was in a room filled with year 6 children, their teachers and teaching assistants, myself and the head teacher. She walked us around a room filled with artifacts stopping here and there to describe them and answer the children’s questions. At the end we had a question and answer session and then we said our goodbyes to frantic waving and cheering.
5 tips for a Skype session in your school.
- Test Skype to make sure it works in your school, it may require firewall settings to be adjusted or ports to be opened.
- Check the lighting in your room to make sure viewers can see you, and get them to check their own too.
- Check sound – make sure you can hear each other. In a class setting it’s an essential to feed your sound through an amplifier.
- Hold a test session so that you can iron out any technical issues.
- If you are doing a question and answer session, have your class prepare questions first to give the participant(s) an opportunity to put their answers together.