How do you make a lesson plan come alive? It’s a question teachers ask themselves almost daily. More and more are finding their answer through our Skype in the classroom community, which has opened up a world of virtual field trips to teachers and their students.

While teachers already know the value of hands-on learning, logistical and fiscal constraints often get in the way. Enter Skype in the classroom, which gives teachers everywhere direct access to explorers, artists, scientists and even business leaders around the world. These real-time experiences take place without ever leaving the classroom, and enrich learning while broadening students’ perspectives of the world around them.

It thrills us to see students bursting with excitement as they prepare to call their peers across the Atlantic and teachers filled with pride knowing that their classroom efforts are expanding the horizons of today’s youth.

We thought you would enjoy a glimpse of how some teachers are using Skype in their classrooms to enrich learning. And a video call between young students at Farm Cove Intermediate School in Auckland and Covington Elementary School in Los Altos, California is a wonderful example.

Not only does the call give students a modern-day lesson in public speaking, but it enables them to compare notes and collaborate with kids around the globe. Ultimately, students are using explorative thinking while celebrating cultural differences. And the kids are learning about each other’s culture, not by reading about it, but by speaking directly with one another.

Watch what happened when the classes met for the first time on Skype:

When asked why Mrs. Croft, the 5th grade teacher at Covington Elementary School, chose to use Skype, she told us that she found it to be an exceptionally easy and effective educational tool. But most importantly, her students love it. When she told them they would be making a Skype video call to Mr. D’Ambrosio’s classroom in Auckland, the kids jumped out of their seats with excitement.

That’s the type of enthusiasm is shared in classrooms around the globe by students whose teachers are leveraging Skype in creative ways.

We would love to hear from you about how Skype is helping you engage with the digital natives filling the seats in your classrooms. Share your feedback with us in the Skype in the classroom community, on Twitter at @SkypeClassroom, or on Facebook.

This was originally posted on the Skype Blog.