Pondering on, how can I have my students experience interacting with students from other schools? I decided to enlist for the Skype-a-thon challenge project of my teacher friend from Australia, Benjamin Lannen.
I have known and connected with Benjamin through Twitter, a social media platform where educators all over the world connect and grow their professional learning network and where all collaborations for project starts.
Upon enlisting, Benjamin Lannen provided me with the specific time and date for our mystery Skype game. Unfortunately, the activity fell on the scheduled CUA day. To ensure our participation, I sought for the approval of our Principal, and the SS coordinator. Thankfully, they approved and supported the activity. We sent out the letters to the parents of Grade 4F. 17 of them approved the participation of their children.
As the activity approaches, I had doubts about whether to pursue the collaboration or not. This is for the reason that I felt I am not knowledgeable enough of the activity. I did not let that feeling of inadequacy deter me from joining the said activity. Instead I looked for ways to address my doubts. I read blogs about how to play #Mystery Skype and asked pointers from Benjamin as well. He was kind enough and sent a thorough email on how our mystery Skype will happen.
On the day of the activity, I assigned roles for each student. Ms. Julie, a grade 4 SS teacher and a colleague helped me fix the classroom and prepare the materials that we will be using for the game. We prepared the Philippine flag, some ethnic musical instruments and iPads to help us with the activity.
The students were very excited and nervous to meet new friends. During the first part of the activity, they got a bit shy, but the students from Holy Spirit School were very patient in guiding us. They encouraged our students to continue playing. Each group presented things and activities unique from their own countries. We learned about the platypus, koala and their favorite sport - football.
This mystery Skype game taught me how to be a risk-taker and be courageous in pursuing my passion. I'm grateful for the support that Ms. Sylvia and Ms. Rose(SS Coordinator) extended to support this project. It made me realize that learning is not confined only in the four corners of the classroom, but opportunities abound when you have the courage to take the leap into the unknown with some mindful thought.
Students' feedback after the activity was: "When can we do it (Mystery Skype again?" They even identified places that they want to mystery Skype with. It was indeed an amazing activity to experience with my students. It may be our first but it helped open new opportunities for future collaborations.