Mystery Skype is a global guessing game where 2 classes from anywhere in the world Skype each other, taking it in turns to ask yes/no questions to determine where the other school is located and what it’s name is. The first class to find out wins!
This article originally appeared in the free June 2016 edition of UKEdMagazine – Click here to view.
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The first step to playing mystery Skype is to visit the Mystery Skype website bit.ly/uked16jun01.
Next click ‘Find A Classroom to Play With’. Choose someone who teaches a similar age range and is in a suitable time zone. Click on their profile and ‘Request a Mystery Skype’. This sends your name and email to the teacher.
I found a teacher in Hungary called Dondi and before the Mystery Skype we exchanged a few emails, so that we felt prepared.
After agreeing a date and time, we were all set to go! Dondi sent me a PDF with a list of questions that the students could ask, which was great preparation for everyone to get the conversation going. View the questions as a PDF at bit.ly/uked16jun02.
Naturally, we had to organise a suitable time for us both to Skype and ensure that we understood the time in our respective time zones. On 5th March at 2pm our time, 9am their time we began our ‘Mystery Skype’.
It was really interesting to hear exchanges between the classes and the questioning certainly improved as the session progressed. At the beginning someone asked, “Do you buy milk in bags or bottles? The students could use their iPads during the session to research and find clues in answers.
The equipment I used to Mystery Skype was an iPad (with the Skype App) and an Apple TV to project the live stream to the class. The class in Hungary used a webcam, laptop and projector. Unfortunately my class didn’t win because the other class guessed our location first, but we had such a great time. It definitely developed:
- English speaking/listening skills.
- Questioning techniques.
- A sense of internationalism.
- Research skills.
At the end of the session, both classes did a presentation about their city and country. This was a great geography lesson in itself. The presentation which Dondi’s class showed us is at bit.ly/uked16jun03. My students learnt lots about Hungary and the city of Budapest, where the school was located.
After that my class did an oral presentation using notes on prompt cards (above). After the session, while the students went to break, myself and Dondi talked and evaluated the process. We ended the Skype session and exchanged final emails (we will certainly be in touch for more collaborative work).
In conclusion, the Mystery Skype was a success and a great experience for both myself and my students. It was rewarding to reach out to another class and another culture to explore the differences, but also the may similarities our pupils share.
Neil Jarrett @EdTechNeil is a year 6 teacher and maths coordinator at an international school in Bangkok, Thailand. He is interested in finding innovative ways to use educational technology to support his students’ learning. Neil shares his ideas on edtech4beginners.com