At ISTE this year, beyond attending sessions and trading ideas with other educators, I’ll be meeting with Ross Smith (opens in new tab) and other members of the Skype in the Classroom (opens in new tab) team. As outlined here, our student-run businesses at Fair Haven Innovates will have the opportunity to work with Skype to make Skype in the Classroom the best it can be for teachers and students. My students have worked hard over the last six months pitching ideas and setting next steps to earn this opportunity. For this post, I asked the heads of the three student-led teams that have been pitching Skype to explain their ideas and how it makes them feel to lend their voice in creating the learning tools they’ll use in the classroom.
Francis: Student Voice Driven Marketing Campaign
Our team believes that Skype in the Classroom is a valuable educational tool. By creating a marketing campaign around sharing students’ experiences with Skype in the Classroom we hope to inspire experts to sign up, convince teachers to use skype in the classroom, and help students to tell their teachers about Skype in the Classroom. When people see our advertisements they’ll say that is cool that these kids are only in 6th grade and are being inspired by Skype in the Classroom. We hope that our marketing campaign will start a conversation around knocking down the walls of the classroom to allow experts in and we can even use a hashtag to let people submit their own quotes on why they love Skype so they can have their voice heard too.
I feel that our position and opportunity is once in a lifetime and we are very excited and grateful for this opportunity. We feel that most students and kids don’t get this opportunity because most companies do not see the potential in kids. They think we can’t help and I think more companies should do this. But Skype really is doing this and seeing the potential in kids and how we can do good and our perspective can make their product even better since we’re the users.
Our idea for Skype in the Classroom is to teach students how to teach teachers to use Skype in the Classroom. We are doing this because we want Skype in the Classroom to be easy and fun for teachers. We want teachers to enjoy their time and not worry about how to use it. This is important because every teacher in the world that wants to use Skype in the Classroom with their students deserves to learn how to do it, but they might not have the time or an adult to teach them. Why not have kids help?
It all starts out with empathy. Imagine being a teacher and being new to Skype in the Classroom. Imagine not knowing how to use this Skype in the Classroom and wanting to have a great experience for your students without having to worry about how to use it, how to create the account, and all that time doing that. Well, this is why we want other students just like us to go around to teach their teachers how to use Skype in the Classroom. We think it is a great idea.
During all the planning and working on our project we learned a lot. We are learning how to be a stronger and a more empathetic person. For example, we had to use a lot of empathy so that we know what it is like in a teacher’s perspective or being in a teacher’s shoes. This helps build up our minds to be better and stronger designers. We also learned how to amplify our voice. I think my student voice is important because, although we are 12 years old, we matter. We have a great plan to teach students to teach teachers to learn Skype in the Classroom. Our voices matter, too. We are kids, but we have a great and strong plan that hopefully gets better. I feel very important and powerful to be listened to. We want other companies to know about us, too so that they know that although we are 12, we have a great plan and we are valuable just like anyone else. I feel very special to be a part of this and to be working with everyone thank you so much for helping us make this happen.
Over the past school year we have been working with Skype to reimagine the idea of Skype in the Classroom. We have been pitching ideas to Skype about how we want to help them get student voice into Skype in the Classroom to make it even better. We talked to Ross, one of the people in charge, and his team on how we want to start a YouTube channel. We shared our idea on how we want to run the channel and what content we want to put on that channel. We would want to put the perspective of teachers and students all around the world, so they can share their experiences and maybe get ideas or connect with other classes.
This has been a really awesome experience to see what it would be like if we were to run a business and the different skills it takes to get people to care about what we are doing. We really hope to tell stories through TV shows, commercials, and more to help Skype. It is really important that kids get a chance to share how we feel about things because it doesn’t matter whether your 12 of 42, anybody can make a change in society. When kids share their opinion and experiences through Skype we can really get a good view on how their world works and the way we may be different but the same. It feels really great for kids to share their opinion because a lot of the time kids are not taken seriously. So for us to get this opportunity really means a lot because we can show people that kids can run a business, have opinions that matter, and kids can do more than you think.
My students and the teams they represent have blown me away this year. I’m excited to finalize the details of our partnership with Skype and let them showcase for everyone how student voice can not only change the classroom, but the world.
Until Next Time,
cross-posted at Teched Up Teacher
Chris Aviles presents on education topics including gamification, technology integration, BYOD, blended learning, and the flipped classroom. Read more at Teched Up Teacher.