Students from Brad Peach’s ninth grade World Geography class in McKinney, Texas, gathered in their high school classroom on a Sunday night. On a screen in front of them, teenagers in Siberia dished to their Texan peers about life in eastern Russia.
Seeing the faces of students across the globe and learning about a culture firsthand brought his students to life, Peach says.
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"They wanted to sit right in front [and] be right in the camera; they wanted to really interact," Peach notes. "This thing is drawing kids out who might be a little wallflowerish."
The students chatted about sports, school, and food using Skype, a Web-based phone and video service. Skype started in 2003 as a voice service and quickly expanded to include video calls and mobile apps. The service now averages 145 million users worldwide each month.