Using Skype in the Classroom by @goodman_ang

This post is taken directly from: by @goodman_ang

Direct Link: Mystery Skype

I found it very interesting and as I had been thinking of ways that I could both use much more tech in my practice and include video calls such as Skype, it was just what I needed to read.

This is the comment I left on Ang’s blog:

“What a genius idea!
This will be something I definitely want to trial next year.
The children in my class have very narrow horizons and this will give them opportunities that will create real awe and wonder.”

I am sure Ang won’t mind me sharing here, I have made copious links back to her original work!

Hopefully like-minded people will find this similarly useful.

If you have any thoughts, please comment either here or back on the original post.


Thanks to @MrLTeachesU I have just signed up to Mystery Skype. Below are the instructions sent to me for how to get started. I’m looking forward to trying this with my class in September. I envisage it will encourage geographical discussion and problem solving. I’ll update on here when we’ve tried it.

Almost all the connections were made through Start by signing in with your Skype username, then click on the magnifying glass (do not enter anything in the search field). From there you can search for Skype in the Classroom lessons by subject, age group, etc.

Here are links to some of our favorite Skype in the Classroom lessons: (Amazon Rain Forest explorers. 2014 National Geographic Explorers of the Year) (Live from Antarctica) (Has designed movie posters, packaging, etc. for Disney, WB, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Nickelodeon. Also designed the back of the California state quarter) (Teacher in Kibera Slums, Nairobi, Kenya. Largest slums in Africa. Due to the time difference we were only able to Skype with the teacher from his 12’x12′ house, but it was live and still very impactful for my students.) (“Night Zoo Keeper.” Story-teller from the UK) (Fun lesson (with music) on telling time)

Most of our connections were made through “Mystery Skype” sessions:



In case you are unfamiliar… Mystery Skype is a game played between two classes where the objective is for each class to deduce the location of the other by asking a series of questions.

I’ve attached a document that pretty much spells out the way we like to run our Mystery Skype sessions when they are live. However, we do not always have the opportunity to do them live due to time zone differences. It’s also a good idea to clear the guidelines ahead of time with the teacher so there’s no confusion.

When we cannot do them live, we have used Skype’s Video Messages (Free, just “right-click” on the person’s username and select “Send Video Message”), YouTube using a private link (Called “Unlisted” in preferences), Vimeo, or just recording a video with a cell phone and emailing it directly. Technically this it is no longer a Mystery “Skype” if Skype is not involved, so some like to call them “Mystery Location.” However, since we did use Skype for about 90% of ours, I just stuck with the Mystery Skype name.

When we do recordings we follow a different format. For these, we use “Clues.” For the Clues format, we give clues about our country. These should not be too easy, but not too difficult either. They should require the person on the other end to do some research, but not extensive. Some examples are: Our country borders 2 oceans. We are the 3rd largest country in the world. We are in the North-Western hemisphere. The puma is a native of our country. Our national bird is the bald eagle. We have a separate list of clues for California as well.

I hope this helps get you started. I did this for the very first time this past school year and we ended up Skyping with people in all 7 continents, 45 different countries, and 18 different states!

Again, please let me know if you have any further questions. I’d be glad to help! And I look forward to Skyping with you and your students in the coming school year!

Posted on 09/08/2014, in EdTech, T&L and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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