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Friday, Jan 19, 2018
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Skype brings classes together

WESLEY CHAPEL - Julie Horrigan's kindergarten class at Watergrass Elementary appeared on the computer screen and her students waved. The excited children in Luisa Ojeda-Vera's kindergarten class at Sand Pine Elementary waved back. The two classrooms might be 10 miles apart, but distance is no barrier these days. The two teachers have brought their classrooms together regularly for about three months using Skype, a computer program that allows videoconferencing over the Internet. "I think it's an excellent thing," Ojeda-Vera said. "We don't have to pay for it, so for teachers it's the best."
For Ojeda-Vera, school isn't an island isolated from the rest of humanity. Skype helps drive home the point that there's a bigger world out there for the children to communicate with and get to know. Once a week, the two classes share writing assignments or other projects. On Wednesday, several children took turns reading short sentences about lessons they learned this year. They also showed off drawings that reflected those lessons. "I learned to be quiet on the carpet," read Marcus Dixon, 6. The carpet is a place near the front of the classroom where students gather for their lessons. "I learned to do my work," read Alyssa Duran, 5. Skype has become a popular medium for schools throughout Pasco County. Oakstead Elementary students have used it to communicate with schools in China and Sweden. Ronnie Blair
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Skype brings classes together