When trying to decide what to write about in this blog post, I wanted some form of technology integration that all grade levels could use and participate in. This is where a Mystery Skype comes in. A Mystery Skype is also a good cross-curricular activity. All you need is a Skype account (free), computer, and projector.
I found out about the concept of a Mystery Skype from Craig Badura who is the Technology Integration Specialist at Aurora Public Schools. Teachers sign up to let others know that they are interested in a Mystery Skype for their class. The teachers are the only ones who know where the other class is located and the students must find out, using yes or no answers, where the other class is. Usually, they are trying to guess the state, or maybe even country. Every student in the class has a job to do. Some ask questions, others are in charge of talking to the other class, via a back channel where they can ask questions that receive more of an answer than yes or no. Some students are in charge of pinpointing the location with maps, and there are many more. There is a list of jobs for students on the website, that can be rotated each time you Mystery Skype with another class.
Craig has set up a website for Mystery Skype for the upcoming school year. If this interests you, or you know of someone that would be interested in it, let that person know. There are many states that are represented so far all over the US, and even one in Canada.
I feel this is a wonderful way to get your students in touch with schools outside of Nebraska, and in some cases, the United States. Not only would you be integrating technology, you are working with language skills, social studies, critical thinking and reasoning, and teamwork. And these are just a few of the benefits of a Mystery Skype. Students will be asking when they get to do another Mystery Skype, and may even be more interested in the other classroom and kids than finding out where they are.
To find out more, see an example of a previous Mystery Skype, and sign up visit the Mystery Skype Website.