Guest speakers always add another dimension to teaching; however, getting an expert to come into your classroom may be a little more challenging. Speakers often have work schedules, travel schedules and other responsibilities to navigate. Educators have class schedules, late starts, parent conferences, etc. to deal with. Sometimes finding the right time to meet is impossible. Here are a few creative ways to get experts into your classroom, using the power of technology:
iTunesU has been available to educators for several years, but many teachers still do not know what the big deal is. iTunes U gives educators the opportunity to download classes and lectures from leading experts and universities all around the country. Do you want to learn more about management? Why not learn from Peter Drucker? If you are the type of teacher who wants to create your own course, you can use the iTunes U app to do so.
Skype is a tool that I have been using in my classroom for several months. In October, my students and I used Skype to talk with 1800GOTJUNK CEO Brian Scudamore about the benefits and challenges of entrepreneurship. My students and I talked with author Laura Vanderkam (168 Hours and All the Money in the World) about time and financial management. It took a simple email to each contact and a coordination of schedules.
The power of technology makes it possible to bring true experts into your classroom and many of them are willing to donate their time to make a difference. It takes effort and be prepared to be rejected, but it is truly worth the effort! I must say that using both tools has increased student engagement and understanding of content. It just started with the click of a mouse.