I introduced the following tools for finding collaborative projects using Skype last spring, but I wanted to remind you of these tools as you are planning for this year. There are similar sites for Google Hangout, which I will cover next week. As you explore and consider collaborative projects, remember to start small and work to more complex collaborative tasks as you and your students become more comfortable communication outside of the classroom. The easiest way to start collaborative projects is to work with teachers outside the district that you already know. By utilizing your established relationships, you can focus on the task of connecting your classrooms. The resources I am sharing serve as communication networks where you can find other educators and classrooms looking to connect through online communication tools.
If you would like Skype installed on your SMARTboard computer, please submit a work order or let me know. Skype also has iOS and Android mobile apps. (Skype will not run on Chromebooks.) You can create a free Skype account on the web without installing the program.
Skype is the Classroom is probably the best place to begin looking for connections through Skype. You will need a Skype account to sign in. (You can also sign in with a facebook or Twitter account, but if you are going to use Skype, you will eventually need a Skype account. Plus, when you use your Skype account, it eliminates potential confusion caused when you use a Twitter account for Skype in the Classroom and a Skype account when actually using Skype.) After logging in, you can search for projects or other teachers by keyword, subject, and age group. You can also register to participate in Mystery Skype.
The Skype An Author Network lists several authors who are willing to Skype with readers. Many authors are willing to host 15-20 minute free Skype sessions with students who have read one of their books. Details are listed for each author including contact information, presentation topics, and rates for longer Skype sessions.
50 Awesome Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom is a blog post that lists projects that other educators have conducted through Skype along with more resources for using Skype.