I sat down a few weeks ago to meet with a couple of teachers to discuss ways to use the iPad in the senior years classroom setting. After we had discussed a variety of applications for both the iPad and a couple of web 2.0 tools, the discussion turned to connecting to classrooms in other countries. The classroom teachers I had met with have been working on sustainable development goals, fundraising for distant communities in need and making cross cultural-connections with those communities through letter writing. Part of what they were interested in doing was using the iPad to make video contact with individuals living in the communities with which they had already made connections.
I stumbled across this blog post about Mystery Skype-ing that reminded me of this conversation. Apparently, a whole host of classrooms in the United States are using Skype, a free video conferencing web and iPad application, to connect with each other. There are wikispaces that you can visit and sign up to make connections with other classrooms. You set a date and time, keeping in mind time zones, and call each other using Skype. The particular blog post I read laid out some 'how to' guidelines for new teachers and suggested that each student be assigned a role in the digital conversation to provide opportunities for class-wide participation. If you are interested in participating in a Mystery Skype with your classroom, it might be worthwhile to check out this blog post and follow the links to sign up. If you've tried something like this with your classroom- share by commenting on this post. It would be great to hear from an ISD rep. who has been through this experience with their students!