#MysterySkype

The global guessing game that gets kids learning with Skype. Sign up to join our new Mystery Skype community.

Mystery Skype is an educational game, invented by teachers, played by two classrooms on Skype. The aim of the game is to guess the location of the other classroom by asking each other questions.

It's suitable for all age groups and can be used to teach subjects like geography, history, languages, mathematics and science.

Get started with Mystery Skype

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1. Find a class

Join the list and message or tweet teachers you’d like to connect with. Our community is full of teachers who want to arrange Mystery Skype lessons with other classes.

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2. Arrange a time

When you’ve found a class you'd like to Mystery Skype with, agree on a date and time for your lesson. Make sure you add each other as Skype contacts before your call too.

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3. Share your story

We love to see your Mystery Skype stories, photos and videos. Share them on Twitter by mentioning @SkypeClassroom and using the #MysterySkype hashtag.

“You'll be amazed by how much you can trust your students during Mystery Skype. It's all about handing that control over to your students. That can be hard for a lot of teachers, but once you do it, you realize that it's fine.”

Craig Badura, K-12 technology integration specialist, Aurora, Nebraska

Three ways to play

Mystery Skype rules vary from classroom to classroom. It is useful to talk to the other teacher about the way you play Mystery Skype before your call so you can agree on a set of common rules.

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1. Twenty questions

Recommended for beginners and younger age groups

Students in each class prepare a set of 20 questions and 5-10 clues for the other class before their call. The classes try to guess each other’s location by answering the questions and using additional clues for a little extra help. This can work well for your first Mystery Skype lesson and is a good way to improve your students’ knowledge of where they live.

Tip1

Mystery Skype tip

Remember to remove your location from your Skype and Twitter profiles so you do not reveal your mystery location by accident.

2. Yes or no answers


Recommended for more experienced classes

Classes are only allowed to ask each other questions which will get a yes or no answer. The number of questions may be limited to 20 if you want an additional challenge. These lessons can be more spontaneous and require students to think on their feet as the questions aren’t prepared in advance.

Tip2

Mystery Skype tip

Don’t be afraid to let your students control the Mystery Skype call. This teaches them how to self-organize, think critically and be creative.

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3. Mystery Skype jobs

Recommended for experienced classes

Some teachers have found that when students have specific responsibilities during a Mystery Skype lesson they work better as a team and the whole class becomes more engaged.

These roles can include greeters, question keepers, Bing mappers, runners, bloggers, photographers, live tweeters, reporters, and anything else that works for your class.

If you need some more ideas, teacher Pernille Ripp has put together a fantastic list on her blog of the jobs that her class has developed.

Tip3

Mystery Skype tip

Keep a Mystery Skype map in your classroom where you mark the calls you make.

“Mystery Skype creates the kind of environment that children will experience in the future. It lets them see there is learning happening beyond the four walls of our classroom. They learn there is an extended world beyond them, places they've never seen before - the potential is great.”

Jo-Ann Fox, 4th grade teacher, Escondido, California

Do I need any additional equipment for my first Mystery Skype call?

Make sure your computer has the latest version of Skype installed on it to ensure the best call quality. You can download Skype for free here.

Your computer should have a built-in or attachable webcam and microphone. For technical advice, please visit Skype’s support pages, or for equipment visit the Skype shop

Make sure your students have access to a set of maps, atlases and globes. Registering at Bing for Schools provides a safe and ad-free search environment and maps for schools.

Equipment

Mystery Skype tips

Remember to organize a 5 minute test call before your lesson with another teacher, family member or friend to make sure everything is working correctly.

Have a Mystery Skype de-briefing session after each call that will get your students thinking of new ways to improve their performance.

Teach your students about Skype etiquette: speak clearly, look into the webcam and raise your hand. Mrs Morgan’s blog has some excellent tips for Skype etiquette for students.

  • Take photos, videos and live-tweet during your Mystery Skype using the #MysterySkype hashtag.
  • Keep a record of all your Mystery Skype lessons on a classroom blog or a video channel.
  • Try Mystery Skype with classes from around your country. For example, many teachers in the USA like to try for all 50 states.
  • Try a journey around the world in 80 Mystery Skypes.
  • Try a Mystery Skype with all 7 continents.

“Connecting with other kids in different parts of their country but also with kids from other parts of the world to learn firsthand what their lives are like is immeasurable. I wish I had this when I was at school.”

Katy Gartside, 5th grade teacher, New York City, New York

Discover a world of Mystery Skype lessons

We’re making it easy for teachers to plan Mystery Skype lessons with other teachers from around the world. Join our Mystery Skype list to take part and start connecting with other classrooms.