GOOD

Skype's New Education Platform Connects Classrooms Around the Globe

Teachers have long embraced Skype. Now the company is embracing them back with special features for educators.


Good news for teachers looking to collaborate with their colleagues in other parts of the world. Skype has a new free service just for educators called Skype in the classroom, "a free global community created in response to, and in consultation with, the growing number of teachers" using the tool to help students learn.

Teachers already access the eight-year-old service for joint projects, global language exchanges, and guest lectures, but have had a hard time using it to find like-minded collaborators. Skype in the classroom solves that challenge by letting a teacher specify what grade or subject she teaches, and what kinds of projects she's interested in working on together, when she first sets up a profile.


Last December Missouri fifth grade teacher Kara Cornejo became one of the first beta testers of the tool. When Cornejo set up her profile, she indicated she "wanted to do a weather around the world unit." A one-minute search of other testers led her to another educator looking to collaborate on the same unit. By the end of the first day, five additional teachers had reached out to her.

The service already has almost 7,000 users, and Skype is looking for additional feedback on how to keep making the tool even better. They're also looking for tips, articles, links and success stories that can be added to their library of inspirational resources and ideas. They've already received classroom videos

on weather, mega-cities, and world populations, to classroom exchanges on earthquakes, culture and language, to helping deaf children communicate, teaching English to Haitian children, connecting students with experts from lawyers and authors, survival experts, paleoanthropologists, and other inspirational guest speakers on global issues such as peace and the importance of intercultural cooperation.

Need proof that the collaboration being facilitated by Skype in the classroom isn't just hype? Watch the video below detailing a U.S. and Chilean classroom exchange on earthquakes.

[vimeo][/vimeo]

Articles
NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

Wealth inequality has been a hot topic of discussion as of late, but it's something that's occurred all throughout history. Class structure is a complicated issue, especially when you consider that haves and have nots have been in existence for over 4,000 years.

A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change means our future is uncertain, but in the meantime, it's telling us a lot about our past. The Earth's glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, but as the ice dwindles, ancient artifacts are being uncovered. The Secrets of the Ice project has been surveying the glaciers on Norway's highest mountains in Oppland since 2011. They have found a slew of treasures, frozen in time and ice, making glacier archeologists, as Lars Pilø, co-director of Secrets of the Ice, put it when talking to CNN, the "unlikely beneficiaries of global warming."

Instead of digging, glacier archeologists survey the areas of melting ice, seeing which artifacts have been revealed by the thaw. "It's a very different world from regular archaeological sites," Pilø told National Geographic. "It's really rewarding work.

Keep Reading Show less

When former Pittsburgh Steelers' center Mike Webster committed suicide in 2002, his death began to raise awareness of the brain damage experienced by NFL football players. A 2017 study found that 99% of deceased NFL players had a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Only one out of 111 former football players had no sign of CTE. It turns out, some of the risks of traumatic brain injury experienced by heavily padded adults playing at a professional level also exist for kids with developing brains playing at a recreational level. The dangers might not be as intense as what the adults go through, but it can have some major life-long consequences.

A new PSA put out by the Concussion Legacy Foundation raises awareness of the dangers of tackle football on developing brains, comparing it to smoking. "Tackle football is like smoking. The younger I start, the longer I am exposed to danger. You wouldn't let me smoke. When should I start tackling?" a child's voice can be heard saying in the PSA as a mother lights up a cigarette for her young son.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

On Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted about some favorable economic numbers, claiming that annual household income is up, unemployment is low, and housing prices are high.

Now, just imagine how much better those numbers would be if the country wasn't mired in an economy-killing trade war with China, bleeding out trillion-dollar-a-year debts, and didn't suffer from chaotic leadership in the Oval Office?

At the end of tweet, came an odd sentence, "Impeach the Pres."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

October is domestic violence awareness month and when most people think of domestic violence, they imagine mostly female victims. However, abuse of men happens as well – in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. But some are taking it upon themselves to change all that.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture