This fall I heard about Mystery Skype. I was a little late to the party, but loved the idea and wanted to give it a shot. The basic concept is to find another class in the world to connect with. You coordinate with the other teacher to set a date and time, do a little prep work with the students, and away you go. The goal of a Mystery Skype is to discover the location of the other class. Students practice geography skills and also develop skills in formulating good questions. In our first Mystery Skype we learned that our concept of a "good" question isn't always correct. For example, we asked "Is the weather warm?" The other class struggled with this question because the word warm can be interpreted many different ways. All the students were assigned jobs before the Skype and they all did a great job. We did have a little trouble with the audio quality, but in the end both classes found each other. We discovered they were in Louisiana and they identified us as Minnesotans. They even gave their answer in a comical Minnesotan accent. It was great.
Was our first Mystery Skype perfect? No. But did we learn from the experience? YES. One of the first questions our class asked after the Skype was when we were going to do it again. One student even suggested we make it a Tuesday tradition.
As we continue to try new things and take new risks, we are introduced to new opportunities. We plan on doing more of these activities and look to work more skills and activities into each one. This is just a small step, but a significant one for our students.