Astronomy’s Skype Lessons Win Prize

Astronomy ConferenceBRONX, NY – Ms. Kathleen Robbins has been featured on the Harry S Truman website for her innovative use of the Skype video conferencing platform.  Now Microsoft, the parent company of Skype, has awarded Ms. Robbins and Mr. David Roush – who helped coordinate the videoconferences – with a brand new webcam.

“Skype enables my class to connect with scientists and specialists in the field,” Robbins said.  “The ability for students to exchange ideas and ask questions to professionals is something I cannot provide alone in the classroom.  It validates their curiosity in a way that is inspiring.”

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 10.26.44 AMThe “Skype Story” was submitted as part of a contest in January 2014.  Skype asked teachers from around the country to share stories of their innovative uses of the platform.  Mr. Roush and Ms. Robbins’ story was selected as a winner.  The reward: a Freetalk Conference HD Webcam that they can use to take students on future Skype adventures.

Mr. Roush has also used Skype in the past, to interact with professionals in the media industry.  His students interviewed a television news reporter in Tuscaloosa, AL the day after a devastating tornado destroyed a large area of that city.  They have also used Skype to interact with Truman High School graduates, who gave important advice and guidance to current students on the college application process, and what life is really like in the “real world.”

“I can stand in front of a classroom and talk all day and all night long about the TV industry… or about what life is like once my students go into the real world,” Roush said.  “But it has a whole lot more meaning when it is coming from a real person who is going through it right now.  Skype has allowed me to do that. I can take my students anywhere… we can meet anyone.  And we don’t even need a metrocard.”


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