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Assessment of Learning via Skype

November 20, 2010 21st Century Learning, Assessment, Video Conference 15 Comments

Skyping with students is great! They are learning…There is no doubt in my mind…!

Skyping Hub- Learning Hub

  • I know…I see motivation in their eyes… I feel excitement in the air…I hear them say: “How cool”, “That was awesome” or “When are we skyping again?”.
  • I  know… all about the different skills students are exposed to and are practicing while skyping.
  • I know… that I am helping them learn differently than from a textbook.
  • I know… that I am preparing them for a work environment where they are expected to collaborate with colleagues and teams who do not live in the same country, nor continent and operate in a different time zone.
  • I know… that I am exposing them to a world, people and cultures beyond their horizon.
  • I know… that I am broadening their perspectives, tolerance and  for someone who is different

…but… what about formal assessment and documentation of this kind of learning.

I enjoy helping other teachers get excited and comfortable using Skype as a tool to connect with other classrooms or experts around the world. I want to make it explicit, once again, that it is NOT about the tool, but about the skills and the learning.

In order to streamline the process of converting a Skype Call into a Learning Call and to make it more visual, I created the following images and handouts. Please feel free to use them in your own classroom.

You can download all of them as a pdf file here.

Credit for middle image experience by tombodor

A Skype call should never be done in isolation. We should not treat a video conference any different than a field trip. The actual experience should be framed by pre-activities that activate prior knowledge and post-activites that give students the opportunity to reflect, create and connect these new experiences.

Pre-Activities include:

  • Familiarize with geographic location, language, culture, age group, etc.
  • KWL Chart
  • Information Literacy (locate)
  • Google Earth (distance)
  • Google Maps (Street view)
  • Formulate questions
  • Distribute job responsibilities for actual video conference experience

Pre-Activities Job Description:

Have students prepare for a call by filling out the handout below. You can easily ask them to formulate and share questions on your classroom blog as well.

Depending on the geographic location, have students “orientate” themselves to WHERE they will be connecting to by answering the following questions.

During the Call Activities include:

  • Interview
  • Q & A
  • Image & Video recording
  • Blog (summarize)
  • Backchannel
  • Data Collection
  • Present
  • Share

During Skype Call Job Description:

I have written several times about engaging students during a Skype call by given them specific jobs and responsibilities. You can listen to my 5th graders explaining each job a little more.

Once the Skype call has ended, it is important to help your students debrief and reflect on their experience. As their teacher you will want to assess in one shape or form the learning that occurred. Is skyping making a difference in their learning? Have they learned something that could not have been taught via a textbook? What was the engagement and motivational level of your students?

Here are some ideas on how to help your students reflect on their Skype experience and help you assess their learning. Give students choices on how to debrief by offering or alternating using different media.

Post-Call Activities include:

  • Informal assessment: debrief right after the Skype call. Have students talk about what just happened. Read the backchannel log out loud and collaboratively add anything that was not documented.
  • Information Literacy (evaluate, analyze, categorize data collected)
  • Create documentary (video clip) from video clips taken during the Skype call
  • Create Photo Slideshow of images taken during the Skype call
  • Write reflective blog posts
  • (Paper & Pencil) Journal entries: Give students prompts
  • Create a Video recording from your debriefing session
  • Audio podcasting
  • Embed images and video into blog post
  • Share with parents (informal at home) or host a parent presentation session at school
  • Present to larger audience (entire school, community, conference)

Post-Activities Job Description:

Take a  peek into a debriefing session after a Skype Call from a third grade class.

What are some of the activities you do to frame a video conference experience for your students? How do you document and assess the learning taking place with video conferencing?

IMPORTANT!

It is important that we start documenting and assessing student learning (formally and informally) from 21st Century tools.  Most assessments are not designed to take new forms of learning into consideration. The more data and documentation we have, the more we can move towards a new kind of “testing and assessing“.

Please contribute by asking your students to take the following survey about their learning via Skype. Once you have had your students take the survey, please e-mail me , so I can share the results with you.

Please disseminate the link to the survey in your own PLN by blogging or tweeting about it.

Currently there are "15 comments" on this Article:

  1. Silvia,

    You never cease to amaze me! Thank you for sharing these wonderful resources and painting a picture of how learning can be assessed in the 21st century classroom. I have been using Skype in my previous Spanish classroom and now in my new gifted classroom. I am also learning that I need to engage my students more when it comes to activating prior knowledge, planning the sessions, and reflecting on their experiences.

  2. Melody_ugdsb says:

    Wow! This is an amazing resource for anyone, like myself, just exploring the use of Skype in the classroom! What kind of parental consent forms do you have in place for your on-line adventures? Are you willing to share them?

    Thanks!
    Melody

  3. Cheska says:

    Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing with us; I especially appreciated the visual handouts and the videos of the students sharing what they have learned with us. Instant bookmark! Your experiences using Skype in the classroom encourages me to “flesh out” my instruction, and I hope I will be able to use the resources you provided in the future!

  4. Lola Solano says:

    Hi, I am a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class. This information you have provided on skype is awesome! I will definitely print out the sheets for future reference when I have my own classroom. Thank you so much for taking the time to share all this information. Your students seem so excited.

  5. Ben says:

    This post is brilliant. For someone like me who is just getting his feet wet with global collaborative projects and Skype, it’s incredibly helpful. Thanks for sharing this and all your other wonderful posts.

  6. Stacey says:

    Looking for schools to skype…how do you find who is available? Thanks.

  7. Yuly says:

    Great post! I love the fact that you emphasized the learning of skills rather than the tool.

  8. John Miller says:

    Absolutely invaluable. Thank you so much for getting inside my head and putting the pieces all together for me and for my students. This will make a tremendous difference with all of our future Skype/learning sessions.

  9. [...] these amazing “Skills not Tools” images. But it’s her work in the classroom using Skype and other tools that really put her at the top of the Teacher [...]

  10. @KFretheim says:

    AWESOME: Students skyping, blogging, and documenting today using Landwitch model http://t.co/2SsnBjqf #2020HowardWinn http://t.co/wT4f7pUQ

  11. This is a gold mine of pedagogic applications in the new age of learning. http://t.co/wegA6snH

  12. Great. Mystery Skype resource #edtech #edchat #elearning http://t.co/vovdWtFK

  13. […] Assessment of Learning via Skype Great pre- and post-assessment activities with files you can download for use from Silvia Tolisano. […]

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