How students solve Mystery Skype – Scott Bedley's fifth-graders from Plaza Vista School in Irvine, California, appear in Microsoft's Super Bowl ad while participating in Mystery Skype. The class is hoping to meet with students from all 50 states through the geography learning game.
How students solve Mystery Skype – As part of Mystery Skype, students from two different areas connect over video chat and try to deduce where the other is located. Bedley, who has been teaching for 20 years, said his students have skyped with classes from 17 states so far.
How students solve Mystery Skype – Students may only ask "yes" or "no" questions, using maps and other research to narrow down where their competitors might be.
How students solve Mystery Skype – Before the Mystery Skype session begins, students are assigned to different tasks, such as a "think tank" that tracks maps, fact-checkers who confirm what's said, note takers and runners who make sure everyone has the information they need, and "on-camera talent" who ask and answer questions.
How students solve Mystery Skype – Each Mystery Skype session takes about 20 minutes, Bedley, said, but it's "organized chaos." The students know their jobs and take them seriously, he said.
How students solve Mystery Skype – Student leaders help to guide their teams, and a student supervisor watches the process and looks for ways they can improve next time. A student reporter shoots photos and will write about the Mystery Skype session afterward.
How students solve Mystery Skype – Note takers track the questions asked during the Mystery Skype session to ensure there's no confusion. The hardest part, according to Bedley? Coordinating schedules with schools in other time zones.
How students solve Mystery Skype – Bedley said Mystery Skype is a creative, energizing way for students to learn geography while hitting other standards such as critical thinking and problem-solving. They've tweaked the rules along the way to make sure they're learning what they need: no more Googling and guessing based on information they spotted in the other classroom.