Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Skype...Mystery Style

For some reason I have found myself extremely intrigued by Mystery Skype over the last year. Some people think that it is not particularly novel since the idea has been around for a while. However, I believe that Mystery Skype has so much more to offer than just geography skills.

Top 5 reasons why I love Mystery Skype!
1. Connecting teachers from across the countryI find that my favorite way to start thinking about how to move a lesson “above the line” on the SAMR level is to share with an authentic audience. So, I wanted to share with you a few reasons why I love Mystery Skype, a picture story about one experience, and resources that can help you get started!Resources:
   -Mystery Skype starts with the teachers connecting

2. Authentic audience for students from across the country
    -Students have the ability collaborate WITH other classrooms
3. Question/Answer format
   -Critical thinking & problem solving skills used 
4. Googling facts, places, locations, etc.
   -Students learning about other areas and diving deeper into their own communities
5. It's EASY and can be done on Skype/FaceTime/Google Hangout
   -You would just need one device to get started!

Although I did get a chance to do the Mystery Skype with the class, I thought the information would be best to learn from the classroom teacher herself! Below you will find the Mystery Skype "iLearn Chat" I had with +Margaret Daly .

Photo Story from 2nd Grade @ Hiawatha

Q: What is mystery Skype?
A: Mystery Skype is where you pair up with another class from anywhere around the world. We paired up with a class from Illinois and another one for Wisconsin. So basically we paired up with the class and then the students tried to figure out where the other class from from by the clues that were given. 

Q: Why do mystery Skype?
A: It started with our communities unit on urban/rural/suburban - We decided that we could find schools from other classrooms who lived in other communities. We then we would be able to ask specific questions about the communities that were in their respective communities.

Q: Who runs the sessions?
A: The students run the sessions and ask the questions back and forth - the teachers are the ones that get into contact and set up the logistics but the kids run the session, ultimately. They run the session by having jobs and asking/answering questions. 

Q: How did you set up the kids running the session?
A: We learned from our first time that the kids needed jobs - we learned this from the 5th grade classroom that we skyped with. they had specific people asking, answering, cue cards for turns, and other suggestions. The second time around we decided to have jobs and it really helped. 

Mystery Skype Jobs we used! 

Q: How do you connect with other classrooms?
A: We used twitter to connect with other classes and then reached out to teacher friends that we knew already. 

Q: Have you stayed in connection with any classrooms that you have skyped with?
A: The one from Wisconsin we actually did not however, the one from the urban area, we sent pictures and Buncees projects that we created to each other.

Q: Would you do mystery Skype again?
A: Absolutely! I met +Mo Gorman  from another school in our district at a conference and we decided we should connect our classrooms across the district.

Also, I love how it is automatic Team building. It sets jobs up and gives kids a purpose for why they are doing it - it focuses on problem solving 

Q: How do you think mystery Skype connects with the SAMR model?
A: I believe it moves you up above the line automatically (when we use to devices to research, connect, map out) because you have the audience and you are reaching out to people around you. We had to use a lot of technology to narrow down and do research on how to discuss. In addition, we were able to share our bunches with the class and we were able to share with the audience.