In order to explore the effects of technology on communication, the grade 11 Introduction to Anthropology, Psychology and Sociology class held a ‘virtual class’ today using webcams and Skype. The students presented their findings of their technological deprivation experiments, during which each student gave up a favourite piece of technology for three days to study the effects on their personal lives.

While there were a few bumps getting everyone up and running, students Ben, Raquel, Max and Jessie seemed happy with the overall results of having a discussion online.

Raquel said, “We now know that we are able to have a discussion over the internet, so if anyone is sick they can use this technology to get their work done.”

In regards to the possible downsides of having a virtual classroom, Ben said, “I felt weird during the discussion. This was because I felt like I was not really talking to people but more talking at people. For me it was hard to understand the others, this was mostly due to the fact that the internet was not very stable or fast. When I talked I did not know if I was being listened to, I could not make eye contact with people or see them respond to what I was saying.”

While the focus today was on group discussion, possible applications for the future include learning activities and presentations, and perhaps ‘Skyping’ in a guest speaker who otherwise wouldn’t be able to visit the school. Any volunteers?

YMCA Academy student participating in a Skype discussion.
Mar. 7th, 2011 – Virtual class exploration via Skype