Since the launch of Skype in the classroom, we’ve been amazed by the creativity that teachers have shown in using it in new and innovative ways. One surprising success story has been the popularity of Mystery Skype lessons.
A Mystery Skype lesson involves students in a simple guessing game. Two classrooms arrange to connect with each other using Skype video calling , and then ask questions to discover each other’s locations. Its popularity with teachers and their students owes a lot to the simple format. It can be adapted for different age groups, languages and to fit in with what a class is currently studying.
It’s also a great way to get started with Skype in the classroom, and a vast number of teachers have virtually traveled the world with their classes thanks to Mystery Skype.
Why teachers love Mystery Skype
Mrs. Bowman, a fifth grade teacher from Florida, explains that this lesson is a fantastic way to make geography come to life for her students. It’s also a great way for her students to improve their communication and problem solving skills.
Teacher Paul Solarz from Illinois values Mystery Skype lessons for helping him integrate his students into a global community of learners. Students are also encouraged to lead the lesson and to learn how to efficiently collaborate with their peers.
Teacher and librarian Gillian Madeley from Ontario, Canada describes a fascinating Mystery Skype lesson with a school from Washington during which her students experienced the concept of time-zone differences first hand and how important this was for them in terms of becoming global citizens.
Set up your first Mystery Skype
Can’t wait to get started? The easiest way to find a Mystery Skype partner is by signing up to Skype in the classroom and browsing our Mystery Skype collection or using the search function on the site and searching for ‘Mystery Skype.’
You can also use the #MysterySkype hashtag on Twitter to engage with other teachers looking for Skype partners.
When it comes to running your Mystery Skype lesson, be creative with the format.
You may choose to ask only ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions, or only questions related to history. Use it to teach your students about climate change, or to practice your language skills with a class from another country – the possibilities are endless.
Mrs. Morgan from Texas has written up a great list of Skype etiquette tips that will guarantee that your Mystery Skype lesson is a success.
To make sure the lesson runs smoothly, it is helpful to ensure your students understand the format and to establish some basic ground rules beforehand.
Students can be assigned different roles to keep the whole class involved. These can include greeters, inquirers, sharers, clue keepers, researchers, navigators, photographers, bloggers, timekeepers and scribes. This is a great lesson to get your students practicing various skills that they have been learning in the classroom.
Tell us about your first Mystery Skype experience
We would love to hear all about your Mystery Skype adventures and help your pupils become a part of the global learning community. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or if you need help finding a Mystery Skype partner! Share your stories with us on Twitter or use the #MysterySkype hashtag. You can also send us a message on Facebook with a photo or a video.
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