If you follow the ever-buzzing Twitter feed, are a lover of all things Google, stay up-to-date on technology, or surf blogs and other social media outlets then you have probably heard about "mystery" classroom video conferencing.
The moment that I heard about this new classroom tech tool, I immediately began to research it more. I am always on the lookout for ways that I can help my students connect with the real world, experience learning in a way that is relevant and meaningful to them, and help them become confident, successful individuals. For me, video conferencing with other classrooms, and educators seemed like a great way for me to bring all of those important aspects into my classroom.
There are a ZILLION ways that you can incorporate video conferencing with you kiddos, and I think that it is important to note that the way that each of us use it in our classrooms is unique because our kiddos can all have different takeaways from this type of technology integration.
For my class, we are using it as a way to help us apply our knowledge and skills to real world tasks as well as helping us grow as digital citizens and enhance our public speaking, presentation, and communication skills. These are all areas that my class has a lot of room to grow in, and practicing and applying these skills over and over in a fun and engaging way is PERFECT for us.
Skype and Google Hangout are the two most common ways to connect via video at the moment. I have both but REALLY love the ease and features of Google Hangout. Since I am not an expert, go here and here to check out some resources that will help you get accounts set up on both of those tools.
Here is a quick recap of our Google Hangout with Kayla and her class. To help my class get ready, I reached out to one of my FAVORITE educators, Kayla Delzer from Top Dog Teaching. She is simply fabulous and her students are PROS. They were so supportive, very respectful, and super patient with us as we completed our first "mystery location". I talk about Mrs. Delzer all the time so my kiddos were so excited to finally meet her and her class in "real life". We had a blast.
Before the meet up, we assigned roles(check out this SUPER detailed post on all the different jobs and responsibilities you can share as a class). I split my class in half. Tables 1 and 2 worked together to "ask" location questions to our guests and tables 3 and 4 worked together to "receive" the questions of our location from our guests.
We also wrote out our questions ahead of time. Here are some sample questions to get you started!
As a class, we also talked about presenting/speaking etiquette. This is an area that we need a lot of support in so I was SO excited with my friend Sandy from Soaring Through Second posted these FREE video conferencing etiquette posters on her blog this week. We will be going over them in class before our next video conference for sure. Thanks, Sandy! You are so talented!
We used a map and our growing geography skills to help us narrow down Mrs. Delzer's location. I was so impressed with my kiddos. They collaborated so well together and persevered through the challenging task.
After about 20 minutes, my students figured out what state Mrs. Delzer and her kiddos live in, and they were so excited! We are now addicted and cannot wait to connect with others over and over again.
Kayla and I posted pictures of our video conferencing on Instagram, and we had a lot of teachers asking to connect with us. We LOVE that you were so interested. To help our classes find other classrooms who are willing to participate in video conferencing activities(reading stories to each other, sharing what we learned, guessing a mystery number or location, playing a Kahoot, etc.), Kayla and I have created a live Google Docs spreadsheet for you to leave your contact information on. This is a great way for us to reach out and get some meetings set up!
this link and sign up to chat with both of our classes. We CANNOT WAIT!!!