The 2017 Skype-a-thon event was my first dip into the world of Skype in the classroom and what fun it was! I worked with Year 6 students, who spoke with the services lead of Microsoft Australia and a Year 4 Class, who participated in our first Mystery Skype. Nothing like diving right into the deep end!
Organising and running a Mystery Skype
In a larger class, there are certainly more roles that could be assigned, but this seemed to work once we go rolling. Also, extremely useful where printed signs to back up communication within the classroom and over the Skype call. Just a simple Yes, No and Please Wait, were very useful as we researched and responded to questions.
Learning to Ask Questions
A great tip I also learnt from Jonathon was to get the children thinking of questions that halved the search area. This really gets them using directional language, scale and landmarks. Students should always start large and work their way down to localised, more specific questions based on the responses on their opponent. For example:
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
To learn more about Mystery Skype and get started, visit the Microsoft Educator Community. As well as online courses to introduce you to who it all works, you can set your availability times and connect with other educators or experts from around the world to Skype with. You are not limited to setting up Mystery Skype calls, but can also arrange virtual field trips and Skype calls with subject experts.
Keep your eyes peeled for the next Skype-a-thon event in 2018. It is sure to be a lot of fun!
Read all about my thoughts on teaching in the 21st Century, my experiences with technology in the classroom, running a Maker Space, launching STEAM and Design Thinking with students, coding, robotics and much more!
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