June 10, 2011

Using Skype in English Class

 My 16 year old students and I had the opportunity to interview my friend and collegue Claudia Carril from Uruguay. Claudia and I met on free TESOL seminars called EVO. We both became Webheads  and after we  learned a lot about new web 2.0 technology we started an "Epal project" beetween our students. We have been exchanging emails beetween our students using Claudia's wiki page. Some of the pages are private at the moment for the safety of our students and until I work out all the Parent Permissions.

Since both of our students have started to become very enthusiastic about this whole project we've got the idea of a Skype interview. I was also somehow encouraged by Maria Bossa, my other Webhead friend who started a similar project with Ayat from Egypt.

It is very important to mention that  there is +5 hours difference between Croatia and Uruguay, and while my students and I were finishing our working day around 1 - 2pm, Claudia had to take a day off to be with us. My students wished her a "good morning" and while she was having her first morning coffee she also tried to answer their interesting questions.

At first they were a little shy but my Valentina broke the ice by asking the teacher everything she wanted to know about Uruguay's school system, do students wear uniforms, when do they start and finish school year. She even described Claudia her trip to Italy where she went on with her class this May. After that, others got encouraged and asked all kinds of questions. We found out if she liked listening to music, what's her favourite band, has she ever been to a concert, how does she spend Christmas and Easter holidays, what are her favourite destinations and is she planning to come to Croatia.
For me, there were two most interesting parts of an interview. The first one was when Claudia described Uruguay's national dish. We all became surprised when she said it was preparing a barbecue. My students laughed and came to conclusion that Croatian and Uruguayans have something in common. And the other one was when my student Davor met his penpal Belen who is actually Claudia's daughter. They were both very funny and interesting.

I also must mention, that some of Claudia's students interviewed me two days before, and it was midnight in Croatia, but it is a pleasure to be a part of this kind of thing and staying up late is not difficult at all.

We all hope that this project will last at least two more years and that students from both countries will learn a lot about their customs, culture and tradition. And what is more important they will make great friendship and bulid a tolerance to something new and interesting!

I want to thank both Claudia and my students class of II.d Gimnazija Bernardina Frankopana for participating and for being very spontanous in talking to the teacher. The link with the name of the school has an original article in Croatian for those who understand it , but for those who like to view the Skype interview here is a slide show I made in PhotoPeach Using Skype in English Class

Class of II.d future hotel and tourism specalists with their english teacher Marijana


  1. Great work, Marijana and students! :-)
    It reminds me of the blended lessons I did with my 5th-6th graders (10-11 years old). They interviewed teachers in different parts of the world: Australia, Taiwan, Sudan, Poland and England.
    I just left a comment in your PhotoPeach presentation.
    Last but not least, I'm very proud and happy that this is a result of BaW11, Marijana. :-)
    Hugs, Teresa (Lisbon area, Portugal)

  2. My dear Teresa,thank you for your kind words.
    I'm so proud of my students, this was a huge work, but I've enjoyed it. The original article in CRoatian was publised in different Croatian school portals. I was also encouraged by one of my collegues from Croatia Arjana to do this.
    But, mostly all of this is a result of BAW2011 which opened my eyes and hunger for technology, if only I had more time for everything! All in all I am proud to be a Webhead! :)))

  3. A magnificent project! Good luck to the teachers and their students!
    Just a few questions: was it in a classroom? was it 1 to 1 talk?
    Long live BaW!

  4. Hi Valentina, thx for your comment! Yes the Skype interview was held in the classroom, but my collegue was in the comfort of her home. My students asked her questions one on one, but the whole class could hear her talking-answering, since I pluged the speakers on my laptop and use only a headphones microphone! It is an excellent experience, and now I will be interviewed by her students for the second time on Monday! We cannot manage students to interview each other since there is a 5 hour difference, but I'm sure we will think of something soon, and not only emailing!

  5. I feel proud of being part of this great project. I enjoyed being interviewed. The feeling that remains in my students is that they were able to communicate with a teacher who has a different mother tongue using the language they've been studying and they didn't find it difficult to understand her and to be understood.


  6. Hi Claudia, I hope we can continue this and even think of better projects with our studnets!

  7. Thanks for inviting me to view this. We have contact with a school in Canada and I'm hoping to set up a class Skype session with them. Your experience is very helpful.

  8. The concept of English Sykpe class is truly a fascinating one for individuals who want to learn English but due to unavailability of time, have to put their desire down. This concept will let these individuals learn English from their homes. All one need to do is visit the website and fill in the admission form. And after that as per the time suitable to you, you can start your English class. Because of its effectiveness, this concept of Skype English class has gained a huge success.