The topic of the week is Jon Tait on Skype and the Global Classroom.
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This week it was great to speak to Jon Tait about his use of Skype and how he has created a Global Classroom.
Jon started off as a sports coach and then had a path through PE teaching to senior leadership in behaviour and ultimately teaching and learning.
Jon was fortunate to be chosen to carry the Olympic Torch in part of its journey in 2012 but he has subsequently seen it as his duty to spread the Olympic message. He still has his Olympic torch and started by visiting local groups such as Guides and Scouts talking about:
He believes this cuts across all ages and boundaries. Jon says it’s almost like being a superhero. The power of the Olympic torch was amazing. This led on to Jon’s ‘Olympic Torch in your Classroom’ project which is how he got involved with Skype. He has appeared via Skype with t he torch in many countries around the world almost 50 times so far.
However, the Skype work came both from the Olympic torch and his own passion far integrating technology into his classroom practice. This took him to the https://education.skype.com/ website where he discovered a way of spreading the Olympic torch message far and wide as well as furthering his own commitment to preparing students for a globally-focussed technological world. Jon believes we can provide a world-class education system through the use of technology, in the comfort of our own classrooms.
The Global Classroom
Paul mentions Sugata Mitra’s work on the School in the Cloud and Jon agrees that Mitra and others have been very influential in his thinking about the way in which learners learn and how different learners are today to only a few years ago. Another hugely influential project was hole in the wall in which computers were installed in deprived areas and left there to see what children would do with them. Of course, they ended up teaching themselves how to use the computers.
Paul and Jon also mention:
How to start using Skype to create a Global Classroom
Jon identifies 4 ways to start after getting yourself a Skype account and registering as a teacher on https://education.skype.com/:
- Collaborate with another class or school – this could be on the other side of the world – imagine teaching earthquakes by Skyping with children who have experienced one
- Look for a guest speaker – many experts are happy to take 20 minutes out of their day rather than devoting a whole trip to one class – e.g. a lot of companies are happy to take part as part of their corporate responsibilities and children’s authors can speak directly to potential readers
- Mystery Skype – find a teacher to Skype with and don’t tell the classes where the two schools are – they have to find out by careful questioning
- Virtual filed trip – Jon has seen virtual field trips Skyping from Everest – bringing the world into the classroom
Jon’s mantra is What if and Why not?
He has personally had Premiership footballers and Andy Murray’s mother in his classroom via Skype and arranged a virtual dance off with a US school!
Jon shares a huge amount more detail so do listen carefully to the episode.
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