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Francis Cusick is a first year full-time teacher at Tewksbury Memorial High School. In his role as Virtual High School site coordinator, he oversees the coordination of online courses for over 30 students. In addition, the Arlington native also teaches social studies.
Victoria College's Workforce and Continuing Education Department is now offering an online class for educators that will include the fundamentals of word processing software. VC has partnered with ed2go to offer "Microsoft Word 2010 in the Classroom."
"I have been teaching foreign languages in the traditional classroom for nearly 10 years now, and this past year, I have become involved in online language training," says Lisa Stiefel.
Traditional classroom materials are generally books and workbooks, and CDs for listening practice. Oxford University Press and Klett Verlag are great for these. Of course, there are those who are more technologically inclined than myself who make greater use of multimedia learning materials than I do. I am very much a paper-based teacher, as are most of my colleagues.
When teaching online, however, I have used a variety of media and materials, depending on student and course. I have taught online in a more traditional way, in which the student and myself had the same book, and we simply used skype as our 'classroom'. I have taught courses in which we used an interactive whiteboard that both student and teacher log in to. It is for training using the whiteboard that I was required to develop materials from scratch. We were able to upload documents either in pdf format or powerpoint. This preparation was far more time consuming than simply pulling a book off the shelf and making a few copies.
According to Diane Gayeski, Ph.D., Dean, Roy H. Park School of Communications, Ithaca College, the school offers a new, experimental course for freshmen called "S'Park."
"We bring in live and guest speakers, via Skype, to pose authentic challenges facing media today. Students are required to tweet during the entire class," says Gayeski. "We project the Skype screen and the Twitter stream next to it and capture both for later review and analysis. We were able to, for example, Skype in David Muir and Diane Sawyers, ABC news anchors, who talked about the demise of traditional media, specifically network night-time news among the college age demographic."
According to Gayeski, the students had two weeks to prepare group responses to the challenge and then later Skyped with David Muir to give him some ideas. David Muir tweeted back: "Just skyped with tomorrow's journalists. Thanks for the brilliant pitches. Go bombers!"
To get more from Skype, schools like Ithica College might benefit from a Skype add-on tool called xSky software, which helps users network faster, easier, and more effective. To learn more about xSky, click here.