What do you think of having your students use Skype in the ESL classroom?? I know that right now you are thinking that it would be impossible to have a computer for each and every student, and yes you are probably right. However, in many schools in the province of Québec, teachers and students have access to several computers located either in their own classrooms or in a different room. Even if there are fewer computers than there are students, two or more students can easily share a computer. Many private schools also ask their students to buy a laptop or an Ipad at the beginning of the year. In other cases where only a few computers are available, Skype can be used for group activities. But yes, this post is mainly for schools that have a certain access to technology.
By checking out Skype in the Classroom , I noticed that Skype is a great way to promote cultural sensitivity and cultural awareness in the classroom. I find that having a group conversation on Skype with a native English speaker from England, Australia, or anywhere else around the globe is a great idea because students not only hear authentic English and speak English, but they also learn about other cultures.
Another great way to have students practice their English is to find a school located in an English speaking community in which a FSL (French as a second language) teacher wants to team up for Skype exchanges. When communicating with their Skype pals, students meet a new person, learn a lot of things about that person’s environment/family/hobbies/etc, and they also develop social and compensation strategies, and strategies for giving feedback. Students can, for example, speak English for half of the session, and be helped by the other student. During the second half, they can speak French and help the other student. While helping the other student, ESL students can develop tricks for teaching a second language, and these tricks will come handy when working on their own second language learning. A good example of this is the Skype exchange program going on in Laval University between future ESL teachers and a group of FSL students located in Milwaukee, Wilconsin.
Any other ideas of how to use Skype in the classroom?