How I Use It
We used Skype in my 1st grade classroom to connect with other classrooms around the world. Every week or so, we participated in a Mystery Skype session. In these sessions, we would connect with another classroom (in which only the other teacher and myself knew the location of the other class). Our students would take turns asking questions about the location of the other class (eg. Do you live in the USA? Do you live on the west coast? Do you live near an ocean?). Each class would continue asking questions until they correctly identified where the other class was located.
My students were absolutely THRILLED every time we did Mystery Skype. They loved asking and answering questions about their state, city, and school. Mystery Skype provided a real-life way for my kids to connect with other classrooms around the world. Through Mystery Skype, my students got to see inside other classrooms and hear about the cultures of other students. Even after hanging up from our session, we would have great conversations around things such as accents, weather, and other classroom management. :) The only challenging part to this was finding teachers who were willing to Mystery Skype. I took to Twitter and found teachers there. There are teachers listed on Skype who say they are willing to Mystery Skype, but did not return requests or messages. Another tricky thing is accounting for time zones. When trying to set up a Skype with a class in another state, I had to keep in my mind that while my students were back from lunch in the afternoon, another class might be getting out for the day. If you can keep your sanity over schedules and finding other classrooms to Skype with, it is WELL worth your time! I highly recommend Mystery Skypeing!