24 Hour Skype

It all began after speaking (skyping with @techyturner – Rodney Turner in Phoenix Arizona) and he mentioned that Jen Deyenberg in Canada had done an over night skype. I just couldn’t resist the challenge to use the world to learn. With the ease of Skype my students could talk to the world and get first hand information rather than the second hand information we use mostly.

After discussion with my students and deciding on a purpose (How are we the same – different? What’s in your lunchbox and what do you play?) I put out a call for interest on twitter where my PLN around the globe exists and had around 40 people put in expressions of interest using a google form I created. This was way back in May 2012 with October plans. Then the year rolled on and it was September. Holidays came and went and October hit so I moved the day to November.

I sent an email to all interested to see who was still interested. After that the students looked up the times of all the different cities so we could make a timetable. Bang then daylight savings turned on and our times were out. Also some places turned off daylight savings so there could be a 2hour difference in our original times. Why didn’t I think about this?

24 hr skype WikiI created a wiki and gave all the class access to it so they could create the page for each of the schools. The wiki would be where we would share about our lunches and games. Also we added a map and invited the school to drop a pin on the map. Since then I have found you can add gadgets to the spreadsheet in google and it will map also there is a site thanks to @courosa

We were also thinking what else could we find out about and so thought water was something we all needed and so I created a voice thread for schools to tell about water.

Our wiki pages are still a work in progress and we and the other schools are still getting our information put onto the pages. We also put a population page so we can compare.

The class I chose 5/6B is one of my ICT classes who I teach once a fortnight. This made organising and integrating very difficult in our crowded curriculum. One of my aims was also to have the students involved from the planning stage to the night. I wanted it to be their project as much as mine.

A jobs list became a part of our organisation even down to costing the pizza for dinner. Yes sleeping over or the wake over was part of the deal.


Finally the day arrived and we began the day at 9am with our grade 6’s about to depart for their transition day to the secondary school which also meant the classroom teacher would be gone for half of the day. This leads as to another of my goals and that was to provide professional development for the classroom teacher. I was hoping by the end of the day for the classroom teacher to have learned many skills. This unfortunately didn’t happen.

Organisation during the Skype
We ended up with 25 Skype sessions on our schedule for the 24hours


So we rostered each student to be the host for each Skype session. We wrote up a program for the Skype sessions and posted this on the wiki so all the schools knew the format of the Skype sessions. Also we rostered students to tweet each session using the school twitter account @epsomps so families could follow via the school app which also broadcasts the tweets. We had a tweeting station using two iPads and echofon.

The twitter station

Can you imagine the students being on task for 24 hours? Well no, I couldn’t and had an idea that after the second Skype some would be over it, particularly if they weren’t hosting it. So I made a Our challenges page for the students to complete in any order during the 24hrs. This worked very well whenever the students needed a break from the skyping. During the late hours of the night sleeping was the preferred activity if not rostered on.

One student Nathan attended every Skype and tweeted them all through the night.

Our resident tweeter all night

Meals were simple with pizza delivered and breakfast of cereal and toast, popcorn snacks, milk juice and diet coke. Oh and the chocolate coated ice creams or icey poles for dessert. So we did have some treats as it was a special occasion.

Dinner at last

Dinner at last

During the day we skyped in the classroom which was great because the students could work at their tables when they needed to and this helped with supervision. After school we moved into our large multi purpose room and set up there for the night with our sleeping bags on hand. This room also has a kitchen at one end.

Bean Bag set up

Overall we had 4 schools not participate, 2 just didn’t show and 2 had technical problems.

During the night our largest break was from 9-1am. I thought this would be a great time to get some sleep however the students didn’t so I got them up around 11:45 and we had a midnight google forms lesson where we co-created a google form for participants to complete so we could collect some information to use for our next skype.   Imagine a lesson at midnight with all students participating apart from the three who were asleep.


Thanks to Tina Schmidt for the following Vimeo of their experience of the Skype. It’s great seeing it from their view.

Skype with Epsom, Australia from Tina Schmidt on Vimeo.

All skypes were recorded with call recorder and we will be adding each schools Skype session to their page on the wiki.

The best price of equipment was my iRig microphone with a long cord. It was great as it was unidirectional so didn’t just pick up everyone’s noise. Like my inbuilt mic is so good at doing.
Speakers enabled everyone to hear and as our screens dont have speakers they were needed so all could hear.
A camera was used so I could move it easily rather that the whole laptop. I used my small iPivo camera

So we learned our lunches aren’t very healthy compared to other countries, some schools have rules about food you can bring and packaging (nude food only in some schools, sugar banned)
We play a lot of the same games apart from cricket and netball and snow games.
Lunchtimes can be different times of the day, schools vary in size and some schools have hot lunches and a canteen.


                 Night time skyping in the multi purpose room.                 Skyping in our classroom

Action from this 24hour Skype still to be finished – How can we make our lunches healthier and why? Together with the students we are going to plan action to improve our lunches so we are healthier to enable us to learn better and be healthier. Also we have a litter problem that will become a part of this project. Updating the wiki will be our first focus.

Will we do another 24hour Skype?

Next week – No!      

Next year – Yes!

So if your interested join up here..

6 thoughts on “24 Hour Skype

  1. This was a great opportunity to learn more about other countries and their cultures.
    Of course, a 24 hour exploration helps to expand horizons.
    I really hope to do it at one of my schools and have similar outcomes.
    Thank you Jenny for organizing this and breaking through the blocks.

  2. This was a great read – the unfolding of a story where the students took centre stage. I though each focus – water, lunch, sports – were good topics for the students to talk about. How dedicated are these students to their learning!
    Jenny, your post is also helpful in regard to making any out-of-timezone Skype contact. It’s full of helpful tips, such as which microphone to use.
    I must add though, when you tweeted out for co-participants, I didn’t consider my class ‘global’ enough, being just down the road apiece. I must get rid of that attitude. Global connections don’t have to be thousands of kilometres away, do they?

  3. Amazing. Absolutely amazing. I am so inspired and excited by this work. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. What an amazing learning experience! It was certainly of high interest in the #globalclassroom chat last night and deservedly so. Thanks for sharing so much of your learning with us. I am sure you were all exhausted but very excited about all the learning – an experience none of your students will forget!

  5. My students and I really enjoyed being a part of your 24 hour Skype! It is a great way to allow for timezone differences when Skyping other classrooms. Because I teach 8-9 year olds, they wouldn’t have the stamina for an overnighter. Instead, I schedule one Skype a year for night time and the children bring their parents and siblings to watch. It is always a great experience for all. We look forward to SAW 2013!

  6. Thanks so much for being a part of our Skype. We look forward to seeing you again in 2013.

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