Connecting with classrooms around the country? Who would have thought this was possible even five years ago? Well, it is, and we have a 5th grade class that made it reality for this Technology Integration Specialist.
What is Mystery Skype?
I had heard about Mystery Skype on various blogs and from some teachers in a neighboring city. It is a way to play 20 questions with another school that isn't in your area. You can go to the Mystery Skype page and search for teachers that are interested in Skyping with your class. The teachers connect and find a common day and time (keeping time zones in mind!). Then you call each other via Skype and ask yes/no questions about each schools' location.
I connected with a teacher in another state for Mrs. Thompson's fifth grade class. The teachers know where each other is from, but the students do not. Through a series of questions, we narrowed down the states we were from. They figured out we were in Missouri and we figured out they were in Vermont. We then tried to track down each others' city...we got theirs and they got close to ours! Within 30 minutes, we had connected with another school, used research skills, inference skills, collaboration, geography, and communication to work together to find this school.
The process was very well-done. We had done a mock-Skype session within our building to ensure they all knew their jobs. We had a group on Google Maps trying to find their location, another group with atlases trying to figure out what questions to ask next, another group with a Missouri map in front of them, answering questions, students talking to Vermont telling them answers or asking questions, students recording the questions being asked and those asked of us, students photographing the experience, and probably more! It seemed chaotic, but they were doing SUCH an excellent job working together.
This was one of the most fun things I have been a part of this year! We even have a class set up to do a Mystery Hangout (same as Skype, but with Google Hangouts) with another COUNTRY and another class doing a different state...but it's a mystery...so I can't tell! Check out my Twitter account as I live tweet the country hangout on April 8th!
Fifth grade teacher in a 1:1 iPad classroom, sharing my journey with technology in the classroom