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Students Use Skype to Learn Outside the Classroom

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Andrew McCawley

Papillion, NE (KPTM)- Books and blackboards are a given for the make up of most any classroom. But with today's cutting edge technology, the internet is being used to expand the classroom experience.

These students at the Ideal Alternative Education Program in Papillion have shown a big interest in astronomy.

Their science teacher has tried to answer some of their questions, but finding out more was going to take some extra work.

"I'm the only science teacher in the building, but the kids really like it so I wanted to give them an opportunity to be more energized, have more information, more understanding, maybe get a little enthused with the subject," says Lisa Baker, Science Teacher at the Ideal Alternative Education Program.

She decided to consult an expert. Doug Stowell is an astronomy teacher at Papio La Vista High School. And with the use of Skype, the students could stay in their classroom and get their questions answered.

"Yeah he's way up there at North you know, its cool to be able to have webcams and talk to people, you know especially when like we're here with one teacher who specializes in certain things like he said and he specializes in one thing so everyone kind of gets the knowledge from an all–around stand point," says Kyle Wedgewood, Junior at the Ideal Alternative Education Program.

"Yeah I've been waiting for this for like 3 days. I've all these question written down, I was pretty excited for this," says Dakota Bagley, Junior at the Ideal Alternative Education Program.

This isn't the first time Stowell has used Skype to talk to someone in a different classroom, or state.

"I've done this with a 4th grade class in the district, because in 4th grade here we study astronomy and I've also, we've hocked up with an astronomer that studies asteroids and he gave us actual data that they used to discover asteroids," says Doug Stowell.

Skype is free to use. You only need an internet connection and a webcam if you want to see the person your talking to.

With the high cost of fieldtrips, using Skype in the classroom could really catch on.

"It's free, why not? And you don't have to worry about taking your kids somewhere, permission slips, the cost, why not try it?" says Baker.

Skype is used by millions of individuals and businesses to make video and voice calls, send instant messages, and share files.

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