Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Using Google Hangouts to Connect to Classrooms Around the World

I first read about the idea of the "Mystery Skype" or "Mystery Hangout" on Twitter when a fellow educator posted a Tweet about a global collaboration project.  After further reading, I realized that there are a ton of teachers participating these mystery location calls all over the world.  What a great way to connect classrooms and learn about different places!

After finding interested teachers at both Millstone and Village, Our experiment in global collaboration began by testing Google Hangouts out across schools. This first Hangout is what sold one 5th grade teacher on the idea and she started looking on Twitter for possible connections. So far, her class has connected with Iowa and Alabama and the class is loving it!  With each new Skype/Hangout, the class learns more about different places in the country/world and then reflects on the hangout itself so they can make the next one better.  Each student has a role and they use Google Maps and Google Forms/Docs to collect their data.  The students are also building on curriculum and competencies by:
  • Using and reinforcing map and geography skills
  • Practicing being effective communicators as they work together and share information
  • Problem-solving as they analyze clues and create questions to figure out where the Mystery Skype/Hangout class is located
  • Comparing and contrasting as they look at the differences and similarities between locations
Take a look at some of the pictures from the first few connections. Who knows where the next mystery location will be!

Here are some resources if you are interested in learning more.  Let us know if you would like to try a mystery location call in your class!

Mystery Hangout
Mystery Skype
Sample Notes Page
Student Doc

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