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Using Skype in and out of the Classroom


Presenter Shelwyn Corrigan        Assistant: Hanna Lu
Session 1                                      Room: 01


Skype has become a ubiquitous tool of communication because it is free, easy to master and brings people together. This session will introduce Skype and briefly demonstrate some entertaining activities that can engage students and encourage communication.
Seminar Outline 

This workshop will walk participants through the process of setting up a Skype account, friending fellow participants and will introduce how Skype can be integrated into lessons. Click here for the workshop handout.

We will briefly examine an online chapter that challenges students to specifically describe what they see. Using Skype forces language students to focus on using only words to describe as opposed to including gestures and other non-verbal signals. This is a process description activity, which means there are several steps in the process necessary to complete the chapter. In each step, a language item is introduced. Then students do a reinforcement exercise to make the language item more memorable.

Parallel websites will be used for this activity:

This chapter implements three information gap exercises supported by vocabulary lessons. In information gap exercises, students work with a partner(s). Each partner has some information that the other partner needs to complete each task. Information gaps raise student motivation to communicate because there is a real need to obtain the information necessary to succeed.

Step One and Step Two involve reviewing the vocabulary for shapes and lines. Then students reinforce the vocabulary by doing a picture dictation in which each partner must draw what is being described. A successful outcome depends on each student’s ability to specifically describe the visual information on the screen. In addition, the ability to comprehend the information presented by a partner and to seek additional information is critical to success. These are important language functions.

Step Three and Step four require students to review prepositions of location. They must practice accurately describing locations on a page. Language students often overlook these important vocabulary details. Students then reinforce the vocabulary by participating in another picture dictation. This time they must describe the locations of nouns on a page. The pictures are simply drawn, crazy and unpredictable. This removes the need for perfect artistry when drawing, introduces lightheartedness and reduces expectancy.

Step Five examines how to describe the physical space of a floor plan. Students review the vocabulary using a model floor plan. Students will then draw a floor plan of their childhood home. If their home was more than one story, they may choose to describe just one story. When they are finished drawing, they will dictate the floor plan to their partner. Each partner again draws what is being described. The floor plan consists of only walls and doors. Students need not draw furniture, windows or other details.

This chapter can take up to a week to complete depending on how much teacher reinforcement, discussion and additional materials are included.

If there is time
Shelwyn Corrigan,
Apr 15, 2011, 11:14 PM