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Engaging Minds Through Skype

"I say po-tay-to, you say po-tah-to" ... on Skype !

The use of multimedia in classrooms in the modern world is unavoidable. It is pervasive in today’s educational settings, and some would say, necessary in order to cater to various learning styles. Many even surmise that a more viable, cheaper college education will eventually come from improved online classrooms equipped with lectures from a retinue of renowned professors in lieu of a traditional classroom approach!

According to a study to be published in February 2017 by Educause 2016*, a fully online educational system, or “virtual university,” is impossible for two main reasons:

  1. The campus experience is considered to be vital by both students and professors.

  2. The cost to build online courses is more expensive than delivering them to students.

Though the traditional classroom setting still dominates the education systems of the world, it is necessary for students to experience new technologies in every level of education. Children, adolescents, and adults are now able to access more information online and through visual media than any time in the past. Today, one newspaper, or one hour of online research may yield more information than was ever available in the lifetime of the average person in the 18th century.

Multimedia including power points, videos, and educational apps allow educators to facilitate teaching for multiple learning styles. However, an overabundance of visual stimuli via video may disadvantage children by preventing them from time to be calm and focused with interpersonal teacher-student interactions.

With this in mind, Petit Paris provides some effective moderation: a multimedia approach to interpersonal and interactive instruction via Skype!

Every week, a Skype activity involving a native French speaker—based in France—is contacted and engaged in conversation with the teacher and students. The impact on students is quickly evidenced by their enthusiasm and progress in both language acquisition and social skill development!

By utilizing Skype to experience other native French speakers, students are exposed to more advanced, and different, conversational skills through participating with their teacher in conversation. Students are able to learn differences in dialect and word choice by the addition of another native French speaker. For example, for the expression "How are you ?" the teacher may say, "Ca va ?" while another speaker may choose the expression ,"Comment vas-tu ?"

This exercise has many additional positive benefits:

  • It provides a novel and interesting change in routine.

  • It exposes children to an increased amount of variation in language diversity.

  • It increases the quality and quantity of language acquisition.

  • It develops valuable international communication skills.

  • It increases experiences in interpersonal communication with safe individuals.

  • It provides a positive introduction to instruction via modern technology.

By utilizing Skype technology in the classroom, students of all ages are able to communicate with individuals from various cultural backgrounds. Socializing, networking, and developing a sense of confidence should begin at a young age. Online multimedia should engage learners with others, not isolate them in self-teaching with no dialogue! With the correct guidance, modern technology is poised to lead our children into a future that brings people closer together in intellectual pursuit.

*Citation for information regarding this future study belongs to

Epelboin, Yves. 2016. Is online education going to replace classroom education soon? December 15, 2016.

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