This term, all upper primary classes were hoping to mystery Skype and their term outline mirrored this. Of the 4 UP classes at PEPS, two were side tracked with other projects – Year 5’s planned and hosted our amazing Indonesian Independence Day Assembly and the Year 5/6 class continue to work on an ongoing project- investigating and comparing sport, hobbies and recreation with our sister school, Bakti Mulya 400 (more on this later).
The remaining 2 UP classes (a year 6 and a year 6/7) have each lesson, walked into class asking, “Are we Mystery Skyping today?” and each lesson I have had to sadly inform them that yet again I have failed to find a class in a suitable time zone that is free to Mystery Skype with them. While the search was on for that elusive class, each lesson was instead used to prepare for the eventual mystery Skype. None of us gave up hope! Students planned and wrote presentations about our local area to share after the mystery Skype, they worked and reworked jobs that would be useful, twittered to their readiness to the universe and also participated in a face to face Mystery Skype with international ( Indonesian) visitors. While disappointing, in retrospect, each of these steps was valuable and helped prepare them.
It was so exciting when I finally found a teacher & her class who were interested. One of the many teachers listed on the Mystery Skype website whom I had contacted, recommended I contact Nadia. I was delighted to receive an email back immediately from Nadia. She had never heard of Mystery Skype but liked the sound of it and was keen to give it a go. Wow – don’t you just love working with people like that!!
The day before D-Day (or should that be M-S Day?), we Skyped each other to iron out any last minute glitches. This gave us the opportunity to finally ‘meet’ each other, double check the time difference, and for me to share the list of jobs the students were going to use. Her class is a year 5 which matched age wise our year 6’s. I am so glad we did this as I had difficulty logging onto Skype through my school PC, so after our Skype call finished, I quickly ran over to Darryn (our marvelous & brilliant tech support guru) who easily fixed the problem for me. He also tried to replace the globe in my smart board too in preparation for the Mystery Skype, however as this globe is one of the older models, we are still awaiting their delivery. So Darryn replaced the globe and foolishly, I didn’t turn it on while he was in the room. The first thing I discovered the next day was that the smart board was not working!! Oh well, at least Skype was working on my PC, and also the 2 newly set up PC’s were on the server (& internet) were working as they are so much better for using google earth than the iPads.
When the year 6’s arrived into class, before they had a chance to open their mouths and ask the well worn question, I announced that their mystery Skype was about to happen and they needed to get organised asap. The excitement in the air was palpable, it was awesome. Teams were quickly setup and the 2 question askers/greeters sat themselves at my desk while I pressed the red phone symbol on the Skype website.
Harry & Ruby introduced themselves and we were off. Whereas they quickly guessed we were from Australia (our accents were a dead give away), the year 6’s were side tracked early by the percieved American accent of their greeters. Thankfully they quickly reigned themselves in and returned to a better opening question to determine which hemisphere they live in.
The mappers began with the map of the world on the back wall, progressing to the maps of South East Asia and eventually to the large map of Bali. I was again amazed that the maps seemed to be the ‘atlas’ of choice over the Google Earth. Our year 7 teacher/ICT coordinator, Kathy, joined us for the Mystery Skype and we discussed this interesting development. Maybe when we Skype a non-Indonesian country and I don’t have detailed maps for them to use, Google Earth might be more popular. It was great having another adult in the room to discuss it all with and to soak up the atmosphere together. It really was electric and unless you have experienced a mystery Skype, it is so hard to explain or describe it without sounding like a total nerd.
The logical reasoning team did a brilliant job, dealing with the high pressure both from themselves and others. The right question was finally asked, “Are you in Sanur?” before unfortunately our lunch bell rang, so we had to being it all to a very abrupt end. We just had enough time to share with them our location and for Harry to ask Lachie for his Instagram name before saying goodbye.
It was an absolutely brilliant experience and in retrospect a great way for 2 classes to meet each other. Nadia and I are really keen to continue the link between these two classes and have them investigate aspects of culture together about which I am sooo excited. It will be a very Interesting study for both groups and should blow quite a few myths out of the water!
A truly awesome experience. Thanks to Year 6 PEPS & Year 5 BIS for making it so.