Skyping to Raise the Educational Level

Updated: Feb 28


This will be a big year for me educationally and a big reason is the opportunity of being selected as an MIEExpert! This opportunity is opening up a variety of new doors professionally and educationally for me. One huge change will be the major implementation of Skype into my classroom structure. As noted by Microsoft, Skype is for doing things together, whenever you’re apart. Skype’s text, voice and video make it simple to share experiences with the people that matter to you, wherever they are.With Skype, you can share a story, celebrate a birthday, learn a language, hold a meeting, work with colleagues – just about anything you need to do together every day. You can use Skype on whatever works best for you - on your phone or computer or a TV with Skype on it. It is free to start using Skype - to speak, see and instant message other people on Skype for example.

I've played with Skype in my classroom last year, as shown in my Sway creation below. However, this year the plan is to incorporate this wonderful tool much more in my classroom. Now with being selected as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, a whole new world of Skype possibilities has opened its doors! Stay tuned for some of my adventures in the upcoming year!

Coding in Jersey

In a very creative way, the challenges presented in this Skype (thanks to Human Resource Machine by Tomorrow Corporation) will have students coding in assembly language.

Assembly Language Assembly is the most basic programming language available for any processor. With assembly language, the programmer (student in this case) works only with operations that are implemented directly on the physical Central Processing Unit.

It was an honor to be asked to present the first two lessons in my coding lesson guide to a wonderful group of students, in New Jersey. Even though this was part of a summer camp, the students were very motivated and worked really well, creating a wonderful Skype session. I couldn't be happier with the outcome of our time together.

Breaking Out with Quebec

My class and I had the honor of hosting a wonderful group from Quebec, in taking part in a Breakout EDU session with us. While my students are used to my elaborate and unique creations for Breakout EDU, our new friends in Quebec were entirely new to the process. Together we took part in my Gone Boy Gone: Without a Trace Breakout creation.

Without a Trace stems from the background story of the game, Firewatch, by Campo Santo. Having a difficult time coming to grips with his wife’s demise, Henry takes a job as a fire lookout at the Two Forks lookout at the Shoshone National Park, in Wyoming. His boss or supervisor is named Delilah, whom Henry can communicate with via handheld radios. In one of their conversations, Henry learns of the disappearance of a young boy a few years back, in the same national park, which is the basis for the Breakout mystery!

I'm happy to report that together, my students and our new friends in Quebec were able to solve the mystery and Breakout in 45 minutes! Now, that's teamwork thanks to the wonders of Microsoft Skype!

Summer in Brazil

Early in my summer break, I had the opportunity to teach students in Brazil my unique combination of applying video games to the educational process. While I have made many of these lesson guides, we focused on a select few:

-Bridging Barriers (Bridge Design)

-Critical Thinking in the Little Inferno

-The Dyatlov Pass Incident

-Visible Thinking with Journey

It was a wonderful experience to share my ideas with these awesome students from the beautiful country of Brazil! It seems the students enjoyed our time, as their teacher, Danielly Nunes noted, "Thanks a lot Brian! Everyone really enjoyed the class. I hope we can get another session but now with your group. Take care, dear!"

Carolina on My Mind

Today I was honored to Skype and present one of my favorite gamification lesson guides to a group of high school students, in North Carolina: An Island of Despair, based off the phenomenal video game, Dear Esther, by The Chinese Room. Together we worked through analyzing the video game narrative structure, while inferring the mystery behind this allusive island. I even had them go "ghost hunting!" Don't worry, they know what this means:)

It's a Mystery in Quebec!

So much fun making new friends in Quebec, Canada, while connecting with a simple Mystery Skype. The notion is simple: each class presents various clues about their geographic location. When the clues have concluded, the class discusses their ideas and gives their partnering class their best guess. The giveaway clue for my students was French is their origin language.

The clues my students provided our friends, in Quebec, can be seen below:

  • Our location is shaped like a mitten.

  • We have 5 Great Lakes.

  • Eminem and Kid Rock are from our state.

  • Our state has the Motor City.

  • We have two peninsulas.

Obviously, our friends from Canada figured out that we're from Michigan! Great time and I'll sure we'll connect again.

Good Afternoon and Happy Holidays Canada!

In a very creative way, the challenges presented in this Skype (thanks to Human Resource Machine by Tomorrow Corporation) will have students coding in assembly language.

Assembly Language Assembly is the most basic programming language available for any processor. With assembly language, the programmer (student in this case) works only with operations that are implemented directly on the physical Central Processing Unit.

I was honored to be asked to present the first lesson in my coding lesson guide to a wonderful group of students, in Canada. Considering it was their last day of school before holiday break, they were still very interactive, motivated, and filled with the joy of learning. I'm sure I'll be meeting my new friends in Canada for another Skype session soon.

From Florida, to North Carolina, and the U.K. During Skype-athon

Analyzing Video Game Narrative Text with Indonesia

I've was happy to have the opportunity to bring my creation An Island of Despair, based off the phenomenal video game, Dear Esther, by the Chinese Room, to a group of awesome students in Indonesia. We were able to analyze some brilliantly written text, while looking deep into a very metaphorical and heartbreaking game experience.

Coding with 1st Graders in El Paso

In a very creative way, the challenges presented in this Skype (thanks to Human Resource Machine by Tomorrow Corporation) will have students coding in assembly language.

Assembly Language Assembly is the most basic programming language available for any processor. With assembly language, the programmer (student in this case) works only with operations that are implemented directly on the physical Central Processing Unit.

Although I had never really considered trying my Look at Me! I'm Learning to Code lesson guide to such a young audience; I was extremely proud and happy with how well these youngsters quickly took to the concepts of coding with Assembly Language. I hope to see my little buddies in El Paso, Texas again soon.

Bringing the Creepy, Cold to Mexico City

One of my newest video game lesson guide creations focuses on the Dyatlov Pass incident. The Dyatlov Pass incident details the mysterious deaths of nine ski hikers in the northern Ural Mountains (Russia) on February 2, 1959. This experienced group, who were all from the Ural Polytechnical Institute, had set camp on the slopes of Kholat Syakhl when it all went wrong. That evening something made them lash their way out of their tents from the inside and escape the campsite, poorly dressed for the heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures.

I was able bring this adventure to my new friends in Mexico. We had a great Skype session and hope to do more in the future. My students were excited to become part of the Skype session and make some new friends, as well!

Heartwarming Skype Experience

After giving a Skype lesson to a wonderful class in India, one of their students had a gift for me. This warmed my heart to the core.

After our first Skype, which the students worked their way through the Entry Level areas of my Sane in the Membrane guide, I sent them a Microsoft OneNote document to provide feedback from the night's lesson. Yes . . . it is night for me, since I'm teaching them at 12:00am due to the time difference between Michigan and India. It's fine, however, as their smiles and hard work is more than enough motivation to keep me awake:)

My New Friends!

Meeting with My Friends in India Again!

The first time we met, the class gave me a wonderful gift (as shown above) by singing me a wonderful song. After this meeting, I wanted to return the favor . . . so at the end of our Skype session, I played a video for them (shown below).

When the video was complete, I sent them a Microsoft OneNote document (shown below) to provide feedback on the purpose of my "gift". How can I not feel great when I receive feedback as shown below:

sir so far we had many session but the feeling that they get after your session is a kind of rejuvenating and they like the way you appreciate them after every reply. thanks a lot for making them feel better after every session.

Making Friends in Australia!

Fellow MIEExpert Brad Smith invited my students and I to meet his class in a Mystery Skype! We had a blast and were appreciative that his students stayed up to meet my class, due to the time difference between Michigan and Australia. We hope to meet again soon.

New Buddies in Atlanta!

Fellow MIEExpert Darren Clay invited my students and I to meet his class in a Mystery Skype! This was a great deal of fun! Our favorite part was when they guessed where we were from with the very cool Detroit hat! Hope to see this class soon, as well.

Arlington, Texas . . . Here We Come!

No amount of technical difficulties could stifle this cool meeting between my class and fellow MIEExpert, Jason Holt. His class was interested in having me do a portion of my Carried Off to Rapture lesson guide. I had a great time meeting his awesome students. They were able to comprehend some very high-level discussion questions, while posing further questions to think about, for future Skypes.

Good Morning Trinidad!

What a wonderful experience! Through the awesomeness of the Skype application, I was able to present the first level of my Look at Me! I'm Learning to Code lesson guide to a group of students in Trinidad. How cool is that!

In a very creative way, the challenges I presented in this Skype (thanks to Human Resource Machine by Tomorrow Corporation) had the students coding in assembly language. Assembly Language Assembly is the most basic programming language available for any processor. With assembly language, the programmer (student in this case) works only with operations that are implemented directly on the physical Central Processing Unit. In our activity, the students analyzed various code snippets to a list of instructions in the Visualize/Create activity. There are instructions to snag from the incoming line (INBOX), place on the outgoing (OUTBOX), compare the values of two boxes, loop instructions, conditionally loop, add, subtract, etc.

Making More Friends in India

Enjoyed my late night Skyping to some new friends in India. This session focused on my lesson creation Welcome to Your Life -Visible Learning with Beyond Eyes. Beyond Eyes takes you on a journey as a young blind girl coming to grips with her surroundings. Our session focused on visible learning techniques and soft skills. Great night all around!

To read more on this concept, check out Chapter 27: The Beauty of Inclusion, in my book, Teach4Endurance: Surviving the Swim, Bike, and Run in Today's Classroom.