September EdTech Challenge: Connect

Mystery Skype

Created by Bev Berns and Kim Powell

The September challenge asks classrooms to sign up to participate in a Mystery Skype as a way to promote inquiry in research in your classroom. The purpose is to:

    • Make connections to classrooms outside your local area.
    • To explore curricular concepts in a collaborative, inquiry-based setting.
    • Collaborate locally by including your teacher librarians for their in expertise in using technology with students and completing the research.

View Skype Resources

Technology Needs

    • A computer with internet
    • A webcam (most computers have them)
    • A microphone (most computers have them)
    • Plan a time to test a Skype call to make sure it works with the technology you have.

How to Get Started

Step 1: Sign up to be part of the project. Click Here To Sign Up
* Sign up will end Friday, September 27, 2013 *

Step 2: You will be paired up with another classroom. Your job is to make contact and set up a date and time for your SKYPE during the month of October. The pairings will be e-mailed to you, along with resources to begin planning your Mystery Skype connection, on or before Monday, September 30, 2013.

Step 3: In the meantime, have your students come up with clues about your state ranging from easy to hard. Clues need to be fact based. The idea is to narrow their research to the specific town your school is located in. Be sure to include start questioning with general information, about your state, then moving to more specific information about your town.

Step 4: Assign student jobs for the SKYPE call. Here are roles we suggest. Please feel free to assign jobs appropriate to your class needs:

      • Photographers/ videographers: Have students document work during the project using still and video images.
      • Researchers: Using classroom and online resources to research, students will find answers to the questions posed by the other school.
      • Mappers: Having a map, whether large or small; paper or online, will be helpful to have so that all students can view interactions that have taken place.
      • Notetakers: Together, notetakers jot down discussion happening in the classroom. They write down question suggestions made by classmates and note all questions and comments that come up during discussion.
      • Spokesperson(s): The spokesperson(s) will directly speak with the other class via Skype.
      • Reporter: As notetakers wrote down suggestions from classmates about thoughts overheard in discussion, it is the reporter that gets the group organized and agreed upon the next question to ask the other group. They report what the group wants to the spokesperson.

Step 5: Follow up with the teacher you worked with – what a great way to form new classroom collaboration on another project!

Step 6: Contact us to let us know how your project went! Once signed up, you will be invited to Connected Classroom Wiki. Here, you can share how the project is going and resources to use with other students.

Bev Berns

Kim Powell 

Other Ideas for Using Skype
Mystery Skype isn’t the only way to get connected. Many middle school and high school classrooms use Skype to connect with authors or experts in certain fields. There is an entire website dedicated to sharing lessons from educators using Skype. If you would like to add a lesson or learn more about lessons you might be interested in utilizing in your classroom, check out their site For even more ideas for using Skype in your classroom take a look at 10 Ways to Start Using Skype in the Classroom.

Let me know how it goes!

2 thoughts on “September EdTech Challenge: Connect”

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