“I’ve seen the immense learning that occurs, that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to provide, through connections my students make using Skype” – Karey Killian, USA
Library Media Specialist
Milton Area School District
Milton, Pennsylvania, USA
Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert Karey Killian’s first ISTE experience was a memorable one. “I felt empowered to share ideas and experiences that could help instill the love of learning in their schools,” she says.
Looking back on her time there, Killian says her biggest take-aways were the connections she made with professionals who are passionate about increasing student learning opportunities.
“I was able to co-present with fellow MIE Expert Sarah Loomis at one of the Campfire Learning events,” says Killian. “This was a wonderful time for participants to share what’s on their mind for learners in their classrooms. The room was full of experts that broke into small groups to share ideas with each other.”
As a Library Media Specialist, sharing is a big part of Killian’s practice, and she uses Skype in the Classroom to ensure her students and peers connect to the world.
“I have almost 50 classes of students that would love to connect with experts, authors and students from around the world,” she says. “I’ve seen the immense learning that occurs, that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to provide, through connections my students make using Skype.”
Mystery Skype in particular has become a regular teaching and learning tool for Killian, who has witnessed the power it can bring to students of all ages. Killian recalls a particular Mystery Skype where she was able to connect students with a writer who both read some stories to her students, and shared insights about the writing process.
“After the call, I had them close their eyes and show me on a scale of 1-10 how much they enjoyed the Skype connection,” says Killian. “With eyes closed, every student showed me 10 fingers in the air, which confirmed the need for more learning adventures outside of our classroom walls.”
Killian once surprised a 5th grade class with a Mystery Skype that she planned with a teacher who instructs students at a bilingual school in Argentina.
“One of the students in my class speaks Spanish fluently and was able to have a conversation — with students on another continent — in Spanish in front of his English speaking peers,” says Killian. “Skype in the Classroom has been my game changer. There are countless memories of laughter, learning, and enlightenment with these experiences. I love Skype because I usually learn something new with every call we make.”
About Karey Killian
- Blog: http://webapps1.milton.k12.pa.us/blogs/killian/
- Educational background: Graduated from Millville High School; Bachelor degree from Houghton College (Elementary Education); Master’s degree from Mansfield University (School Library & Information Technologies)
- Professional experience: 16 years teaching experience; Classroom teacher: Kindergarten, 4th grade, 5th grade, 6th grade; Title 1 Math Teacher: grades 1-6; Classrooms for the Future Technology Coach: grades 7-12; Library Media Specialist
- Favorite book: My favorite book to read aloud to students is Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood by Mike Artell illustrated by Jim Harris. (This book must be read aloud with a southern accent. The kids (and staff) from Pennsylvania love hearing my attempts at a southern accent.)
- Website that I check every day: Twitter (I get so many fantastic ideas from my Twitter PLN)
- Favorite Microsoft Tool: Skype is my FAVORITE Microsoft learning tool!