In preparation for the event, I did get a Logitech C922 Pro Stream Webcam just to give myself a little more flexibility with setup. I already had an Aidio Technica USB Microphone, but found the Mic in the Webcam to be more than sufficent when the children were right in front of it as they were for both Skype calls. Although the webcam came with a mini tripod, I mounted it on a full-sized tripod, which was perfect.
You can see examples of setup below:
Of both calls, the Mystery Skype call was my favourite. For anyone new to the world of Mystery Skype, I liken it to playing a game of twenty questions mixed with the old computer game 'Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?' (from the 90s). Classes connect over Skype not knowing where either are in the world. They then take turns asking yes or no style questions with the aim finding out their exact school location. Its a fun and frantic race to be the first who guess correctly.
The natural difficulty being in Australia is that our time zone leaves our choice of competitors a little limited. The class we versed were in Melbourne, so not really a world away from our Brisbane location, but a good start for our first game of Mystery Skype. Despite our efforts we were beaten by our competitors, but the children were not sad at all. The enegry in the room was electric. They had so much fun and couldn’t wait to play again.
Organising and running a Mystery Skype
I was fortunate to connect with another MIE Expert via Twitter amidst all the Skype-a-thon buzz online to set up my Mystery Skype. Fortunately for me, Adrian Hanson was an absolute master of Mystery Skype and shared some great tips. The day before the Mystery Skype we had a practice where I pretended to be from another school in the world. I think this went a long way in preparing the children for the main event and would recommend doing this when getting started. An alternative might be to have classes on site verse each other to practice.
It was Jonathon Roberts, anther fabulous Skype Expert, who told me all about assigning roles to students within the classroom during a Mystery Skype. We used the Collaboration Space in our OneNote Class Notebook to communicate during the Mystery Skype.
I broke the students into the following roles:
Learning to Ask Questions
- Start gloabaly - Are you in the Southern Hemisphere?
- Work into regions - Are you in the Asia/ Pacific region?
- Locate the nation - Is your country South of Indonesia? Are you in Australia?
- Work in halves - Are you on the east coast of Australia?
- Look for capital cities - Are you in a 20km radius of Brisbane?
- Use landmarks - Are you south of the Brisbane River?
Depending on how the local population is distributed, students acting as researchers may need to be finding out about states, suburbs, boroughs or councils. It's such a fun and authentic way for students to engage with Geography.
Find Out More
Keep your eyes peeled for the next Skype-a-thon event in 2018. It is sure to be a lot of fun!