District News ➤ Article 393
Thumbnail Image for Article 393Stacey Ryan uses Skype and Math to Engage and Inspire Students
Posted Date: 07/15/2015

Stacey Ryan, a math teacher at Andover Middle School, was featured on Daily Edventures, the website of Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Education for Microsoft. Below is his article, "Skype + Math = Engaged and Inspired Students in Kansas – Stacey Ryan, USA."

Great things happen when students do uncomfortable things. In fact, for Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and math teacher Stacey Ryan, being “thrown in” to an uncomfortable position early on was the catalyst for her career path.

“I volunteered in the classroom when I was in high school and the teacher showed a lot of trust in me,” says Ryan. “She sometimes would even leave the room and let me be in charge.

After 14+ years of teaching math in the same community where she grew up, Ryan’s passion for empowering her students hasn’t waivered. And she has found a secret weapon to help her: Skype.

“I love to use Skype to connect what we’re learning in class to the real world,” says Ryan. “That way students don’t think it’s just a ‘standard’ we have to cover. It’s about making it relevant and making it inspiring.”

A Skype Master Teacher, Ryan and her students use Skype to “make math real.” They have Skyped with one of Ryan’s former students (who happens to be a marketing manager at Amazon) about why statistics and analysis are important. They Skyped with rescue divers and students in Serbia. And Skype is not only the catalyst, it’s also the key to Andover Middle School’s Project LINC, a collaborative project with another class in Greece that sought to bring clean water to 525 students in Nairobi, Kenya.

At the recent E² Global Educator Exchange, not only did Ryan lead the discussion “Global Learning with Skype – Bring the World to Your Classroom,” she also joined me during the keynote to share more about Project LINC and to preview a documentary being made about the project. Exciting stuff.

“So much of [the students’] future is going to be through video conferencing,” says Ryan. “So to give them those skills now is only going to help them in the future and make them more confident learners. We can start that in middle school – but even better, in kindergarten, in pre-school. As educators, we need to empower our kids to learn that way. We need to empower them to have those experiences. And then as parents, we need to expect that from educators, too.”

I couldn’t agree more.