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 every school I have supported the integration of this in (more than 50 schools in 8 different countries so far). Not only does it engage students, but it excites teachers to add value to learning when teaching 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. I show this to teachers before I tell them anything. It is also one of the first things I show students:
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 8 easy to follow steps to get your class/school hooked into learning about the world:
- Go to https://education.microsoft.com/skype-in-the-classroom/mystery-skype and sign in with your Microsoft for Education account.
- Click on ‘Opt-in for Mystery Skype’ and fill in your details so others can find you and connect.
- Now it is time to explore, search, refine and start contacting people
- On the Mystery Skype homepage, scroll down until you see the “find a class or guest speaker” section, pictured below. You can then use the filter to search by age group, subject, skype availability, country/region, language and available now – you can also include keywords!
- In addition to this searchable function, I have created a Mystery Skype Global Connection Database with over 200 classes from more than 15 countries around the world. Add your details and connect with others within minutes!
- In the database – all contact details are there. If you are searching in the Official Skype database 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 (or other social media) to your PLN and ask for it to be shared – an example ‘tweet’ might look like this:
- Once you have connected and organized 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 and atlas people etc.). If you want an editable copy of this please contact me directly – I am happy to share. 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! Don’t hesitate to ask for help!
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 the staff at my school support your Mystery Skype journey. Email me by clicking here or contact me via Twitter here. Let me know your grade level and some suitable times and we will get you connected. Alternatively, write a tweet like mine above and tag me in it so I can share with my PLN.
For more on Mystery Skype check out these posts: