So this post is one of my most popular, viewed by tens of thousands of educators from all over the globe. Since I posted this Microsoft have developed a much better system to search for ‘global connections’ and have changed some of the links and pages. Here is my 2016 update! Enjoy 🙂
Mystery Skype is an education game, invented by teachers, played by two classrooms on Skype. The aim of the game is to guess the location of the other classroom by asking each other questions.
It has totally transformed the way students learn about the world in my school. Not only does it engage students, but it excites teachers to teach a topic that has long been a short sharp look through an atlas and a glossed over part of the curriculum. It is also an excellent way to integrate technology into your classroom programme and Google Maps is the perfect tool for the job!
Before we dig deeper, here is a video showing Mystery Skype in Action:
The best part is that it is suitable for all ages and can span whatever curriculum areas you would like. It is simple.
Here are 7 easy to follow steps to get your class / school hooked into learning about the world:
- Go to https://education.microsoft.com/connectwithothers/playmysteryskype and sign in with your Microsoft for Education account.
- Click on find a classroom to play with and you will see this screen (or similar)
- Now it is time to explore, search, refine and start contacting people
- You can search by age group, subject, country, language and available now – you can also include keywords!
- You can choose your contacts and choose how to get in touch with them (email, Twitter or Skype). Click on their name to find out more information and when you are ready to get in touch you can add them as a Skype contact (or email them).
- Now you sit back and relax. Wait for the contacts to roll in and then it is up to you to negotiate a time that suits you both. Alternatively you can send a message out via Twitter to your PLN and ask for it to be Retweeted – an example ‘tweet’ might look like this:
- Once you have connected and organised a time to Skype. You can prepare your students. You need to ensure they understand the rules. Check in with them and assign them roles – I use a template and assign student roles (e.g. greeter, question asker, runner, Google mapper, globe person, atlas person etc.). We practice in class and discuss possible questions that would be good to ask. It is best to stick to the rule “Yes or No answers only”. Enjoy the experience, remember that there are people there to help and support your journey, get involved and give it a go! You will love it!
Once you start, you won’t be able to stop. Mystery Skype has been the most engaging way I have found to hook students into learning about the world. Geography learning has never been so fun and my students question asking abilities has improved out of this world!
Mystery Skype is an engaging way to inspire learning. Let staff at my school support your Mystery Skype journey. Email me by clicking here or contact me via Twitter by clicking here. Let me know your grade level and some suitable times and we will get you connected.
For more please have a read of my “How I make it work” post about Mystery Skype sessions.