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News

Classroom Skype provides a window to the world

Collaborating on questions, integrating technology into learning, improving geographical knowledge, communicating with each other and with students from other cultures were just some of the skills they gained from using Mystery Skype.

Year 3 and 4 students have been given a window to the world, thanks to a Mystery Skype project spearheaded by teacher Dave Hanna.

Mystery Skype is a global guessing game that helps kids learn about geography, culture, and the similarities and differences in how children live all over the world. It starts with a Skype session in which each class has to guess where in the world the other class is by asking yes or no questions.

“We work out great questions in advance to help us narrow down the location,” Mr Hanna explained. “Questions like: do you live in the Northern Hemisphere? Is your country next to water? Is your country next to the Pacific Ocean?”

Preparation is necessary, as students have a tendency to want to guess the name of a country and keep going until they get lucky, Mr Hanna said. They then pinpoint the exact location of the city and school.

Students used iPads, Google Maps, atlases and globes to research and come up with questions to ask over Skype. Once the relationship was established, they created an iMovie, uploaded it to Dropbox and shared it with their new friends to help them learn more about them and life in Tauranga.

Collaborating on questions, integrating technology into learning, improving geographical knowledge, communicating with each other and with students from other cultures were just some of the skills they gained from the project, Mr Hanna said.

The next step is developing a deeper relationship with a class so students can learn more about how other people live.

“They love having the live interaction with students their own age from another country,” he said. “And they love the game’s competitive aspect as they work to become the first class to solve the mystery.”

Mystery Skype is a Microsoft application.

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