Mystery skype – February 16 message to the world.
During February 16 (Independence day in Lithuania), students gather on their free day in school to introduce Lithuania and share the message about this day to different classrooms in the world by using Skype calls. Calculating the virtual kilometres we cover on the calls - students travel around the planet Earth - over 40 000 kilometres a day.
Geography, history and English for middle school students
Maximum number of students: 30
• computer and projector with microphone, or interactive board,
• laptops, tablets or printed handouts
• maps, globes
• Countries flag, music instruments and some local objects you wish to show, or perform on.
• The teacher coordinates skype calls with schools in different countries and arranges for the students to receive a country presentation and a greeting (on Independence Day) in the local language of the speakers.
• Pupils divide up who will present Lithuania, who will talk about independence, who will give interesting facts, who will play national instruments or sing, who will ask questions of the speakers.
• The idea of the "Mystery Skype" game is that students in both classes don't know which country in the world they are calling to when the call is made, so they have to find out by asking questions that can only be answered yes or no
Practical use of English during presentations, and encouragement to react quickly to situations by answering spontaneous questions during calls.
Improved knowledge and self-awareness of the world. Encouraging patriotism in the celebration of national holidays and in the celebration of the achievements and uniqueness of one's country.
Strengthening of the school community, as the activities of this particular project are carried out on a voluntary basis during free time.
There are some difficulties while during project:
• Technical barriers while having a skype call - sound quality, video quality, internet connectivity;
• Cultural differences - perception of time (to be late for the call or send additional information on time), priorities of caller (ending before finishing the call tasks)
• Human factors - responsibility - last minute withdraw; difficult timing, because of time zones; change of plans for students which have to do some activity; Unexpected circumstances - power outage, evacuation drill
• English and knowledge of their country by “guests” might be not as good as yours
Points of strength:
• Geographical knowledge - knowledge of natural objects and countries
• Cultural knowledge - presentation of the country, presentation of culture, knowing other cultures and comparing them
• English language - questions are asked in English, some questions are made on the spot and all the questions asked by "guests" has to be answered in english aswell.
• Public speaking – students involved need to do it here and now
• Engagement - even the quieter children get involved
• Networking with teachers - future projects
Areas of improvement:
The project can be extended in many different ways, depending on your objectives. Couple of examples:
• Virtual tours - a ranger from Yellowstone National Park shows you around the park, or museum guided tours of World War I bunkers, etc.
• Virtual lessons - about animals at the Portuguese Zoo
• Guest speakers - book writers, professors, actors, oceanologists, etc.