A new educational game called Mystery Skype is helping kids have fun while they learn using the popular Skype messaging service.
Here’s how it works, two classrooms arrange a Skype session with the goal of determining the location of one of the classrooms by asking questions. It’s a little like 20 questions for the digital age. The other classroom might be somewhere in the U.S. or Canada or it could be halfway around the world.
To take part in the game, teachers go to the Mystery Skype page and then join a list of classes who want to participate.
Teachers can filter the classes by age and locations.
Once you find a class, you’d like to share a Mystery Skype session with, you agree on a date and time for the lesson. Teachers are encouraged to talk before the session and agree on a set of common rules.
The teacher removes the location of the classroom from the Skype and Twitter profile as to not accidentally reveal the location.
Students can prepare a set of questions and clues for the other classes. They class can also be divided into teams assigned roles as photographers, Tweeters, mappers or reporters. Students use a wall map and other reference materials to help them ask and answer questions and work together as a team to make guesses.
For example, students might start by asking, “Are you in North America?” followed by “Are you in the US?” then “Are you east of the Mississippi?” Then get more specific with “Are you one of the original 13 colonies?” and “Do you border a Great Lake?”
To play, classrooms need a computer with the newest version of Skype and a webcam. They should also have a set of maps, atlases and globes available. Microsoft, of course, suggests that schools register for Microsoft’s ad-free Bing for Schools search engine for the classroom to use.
Many classes set goals like Skyping with classes 50 states, Skyping all seven continents, or going around the world in 80 Skypes.