I heard about Mystery Skyping through a blog that I read but am unable to remember which one – sorry! The idea interested me and so I researched it (you know doing the usual – google search, You Tube) and discovered that a number of teachers whom I had worked with in Flat Classroom Projects and the Flat Classroom Certified Teachers course were also involved. I now just had to get interest from the teachers I work with.
I sent out an email about the idea and very quickly heard back from a Abby Cross one of our Grade 4 teachers. We were ready to try this. It was a bit of a scary time as I had never done this before and neither had Abby but we both thought this had real possiblitiles.
To make easier for everyone Abby had her class watch a great You Tube video that is an excellent presentation of how it all works. We also followed the plan suggested with the different jobs. There was considerable discussion with Abby and her class on behaviour and the kind of questions to ask. We were going to follow the yes/no format.
Before too long it was time to hook up and with excitement we answered the call from Lisa Parisi. Her class are old hands at Mystery Skyping so she was able to give us a bit of guidance. What a great time we had. We were able to figure out their location first but it didn’t take long before the other class figured out where we were located.
One of the parts we did with Lisa’s class was extremely beneficial for overall learning. Abby’s class went onto Google Earth and found where Lisa’s class was located and they did the same with our school. While this was going on we disconnected but as soon as we knew we were all online another phone call was made. The questions started then both back and forth as the students got an even better feel for where our new Skype friends were located. It was interesting to notice that while there were differences between the two classes there were a lot of similarities in sports, subjects in school and pets.
One of the great supports I have found are the Mystery Skype groups on Skype. A group called Mystery Skypers and another one called Hello Little World are excellent sources of conversation for teachers as well as links across the world to other skypers. If you search for both these links you will be able to request admittance. That is a fact I really like – it is protected.
Since that first call many of our teachers have gone on to be involved. It is exciting to watch as an idea catches fire and then begins to spread across the Elementary School. I am so interested to see where we are going to take this next year.
Resources that may help: