My experience to date with Skype has been as an outside visitor to a class at another school - eighth graders got to ask me, a licensed geologist with 20+ years of practice, any questions they liked. I got to advertise my Earth and Space Sciences course to kids who will come to NHS this fall. The only problem was with time lost due to connection problems - Mac only, in Library, connection failed repeatedly, half the class time lost. I would definitely like to try this again this year.
a.) As a start for this tool, I would like to use Skype to connect my Principles Of Engineering (POE) class with some working, practicing engineers, engineering professors, or engineering students. This is already part of the PLTW (Project Lead The Way) curriculum - students are already required to find, contact and interview at least one engineer. Digital Tools might allow us to do interviews with multiple professionals, but providing access to the entire class. This has already worked as an in-school visit, but engineers are busy people with access to tech, so... Interviews would consist of a mix of visits and online seminars.
b.) Schedule: contact engineers during August and September; begin interviews with whole class in October; try to schedule one per month.
c.) Contact engineers via telephone and email. Students prepare and send a list of basic questions to be addressed (8-10). Engineer replies via email with a list of other possible topics he/she could address (current projects); students choose one or two via email. Long class period for Skype interview - 20 minutes for basic list of questions, 20 minutes for description of a real project, 20 minutes for additional questions from either side, etc.
d.) Engineering is subdivided into Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Mechanical and Applied (like Petroleum Engr.). It would be beneficial to interview at least one experienced engineer or professor in each subset, and then talk to college students (freshman, soph., junior, senior, grad, NHS graduates!) in fields selected by POE students.
e.) Hardware available for this year is not yet settled. (Library, in class, lab, etc., classroom computers)