QR codes and “Mystery Skype” teach 4th grade geography

back to school education children wearable technology devices student qr codes
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This mobile technology is being implemented as a new tool to help fourth graders to learn.

New Castle students in 4th grade at Carrie Downie Elementary School are now using QR codes and Mystery Skype to be able to connect with 63 other classrooms around the globe in order to give them a more authentic geography lesson.

It may not be possible to take the kids on field trips around the world, but this might be the next best thing.

The children will be talking to other classrooms around the world and will then use QR codes in order to be able to gain access to summaries of the experiences that they had. This is meant to provide the students with a mobile technology based lesson through Mystery Skype that will teach them more about geography in an interactive way. This method is taking off in elementary classrooms worldwide.

Teachers who want the Mystery Skype and QR codes in their classroom connect to each other to arrange it.

back to school education children wearable technology devices qr codesTypically speaking, this communication occurs over a platform such as Twitter. The educators agree on a set time during which the Skype will take place. They then provide their students with a number of geography related questions in order to provide those kids with the information they need to be able to guess the location with which they are Skyping (without directly asking, of course!).

According to 4th grade Carrie Downie Elementary teacher, Jason Bonavita, “It’s these little windows into what might as well be another planet for some of these kids.” In the 2014-2015 school year, Bonavita’s class participated in 63 Mystery Skype sessions that allowed the students to interact with other classes that were as near as Maryland and New Jersey, but also as far as New Zealand, Morocco, Ireland, and Russia.

“It’s so much fun,” explained Bonavita. “The kids get a big kick out of finding the other class.” In the case of Bonavita’s class, there are a few other components that are also added to the experience. For example, throughout the Mystery Skype experience, the teacher has a group of students participate in a live tweet, while another group batch handles a back channel to make it possible for students in all of the participating classes to be able to communicate by way of Padlet, a type of interactive sticky note software.

The Skyped sessions conclude by pinning the new discovered class location to a world map. Hanging by strings from the pins are QR codes that the students can scan when they want to access summaries that they have written about each Mystery Skype.

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