Student-teacher Skyping

Student-teacher Skyping

Jacqueline Barr

Stuck in Europe due to the volcanic eruption, English teacher Mikki McMillion webcams for a class discussion



A computer sat on the desk. Students sat attentively staring as a "Can you guys hear me?" came out of the computer speakers. An outburst of noise erupted in the classroom as the class gathered around the computer to greet their teacher in an unusual medium—via webcam.


In a conversation that spanned the Atlantic, students in teacher Mikki McMillion’s fourth period Literature Honors class discussed "The Great Gatsby" over Skype, an online voice and video chat service on On April 21. 

A volcanic eruption in Iceland kept travelers on the ground due to poor visibility from the ash but McMillion still found a way to reach her students.

Students rearrange themselves so that they can all be seen by the teacher. The laptop was connected to the projector and students had a full view of the teacher. Photo by Jackie Barr. 

The previous day, her literature classes received an email stating that she was stuck in Europe for the rest of the week and hoped class discussions could continue without her. In this initial email, she mentioned the possibility of discussions via Skype.

Shortly after, junior Kasia Gawlas started a School Loop discussion as to the logistics of Skyping in class. 
The next day, their preparation paid off and the students were able to connect to the school wireless internet and then with McMillion.

"At first I was worried that we wouldn’t end up discussing Gatsby after getting on Skype, and not have a proper discussion, but it was like an actual class," Gawlas said.  "She knows the book inside out and having her there was really helpful to discuss things."

Students gathered on the floor and in desks so they could be seen and have a class discussion. Though the visual feed was disconnected a couple of times during the period, the class was able to conduct a successful and orderly discussion and continue class as usual in an unusual circumstance.