The Mystery Skype
On Wednesday, Malorie and her 6th grade Humanities class participated in what is known as a ‘Mystery Skype.’ A Mystery Skype is a 45-60 minute critical thinking challenge that classes take part in while skyping with another class somewhere else in the world. The goal of the session is to guess the other school's location before they guess yours. This is accomplished by having the students craft a series of yes/no questions that might help them narrow down the other class’s location.
In the end, the students worked together, built on each other’s questions and used Google Maps as a reference to be able to discern that they were skyping with students from Indiana (who had a lot of trouble spelling Poughkeepsie once they figured out our location!).
Using Technology Effectively
In the middle school, we view technology as a tool, the same way we would view a pencil or pen. It provides us a resource, albeit a very powerful one, through which we can facilitate deeper learning experiences for our students. For this lesson Malorie leveraged social media to connect with another teacher to set up the mystery skype, and then our students used the technology to speak with the young Hoosiers, ask and answer questions, and used google maps to narrow down the geographic location as it became clearer through their questions.
While the session required students to employ critical thinking skills and collaboration, another important aspect of our program that it highlights is the effective use of technology.
It was a well-planned lesson, with important skills, lots of movement and effective use of technology. It was also a great opportunity for our students to build connections outside of the PDS community.