It is always a special time as an educator when you can watch learning and discoveries happen before your eyes. When students are taking charge of their education, and you can simply help facilitate them during the process. That was the case last Wednesday, when my students took part in a Skype Breakout EDU all-day activity. I had wanted to create a Breakout Edu activity for my students that incorporated Skype, so that students could combine problem-solving and collaboration skills with global collaborative, cultural learning. With the help of Dyane Smokorowski, we developed clues for a Breakout EDU game that led to the students Skyping with a person or class in other countries.
In all, my students connected with people in five continents, having to discover each location once they had solved a clue. Students all worked on the same clue at the same time, but worked together in small groups at their tables. For the first clue, students looked at a slideshow with different animals and tried to match the animal with the clue that I had written. Once they found the correct animal, they then had to match that animal with the country where it was the national animal. That box used the key lock. Once they were ready to guess the country, I called my pre-scheduled contact via Skype, and the students guessed what country he was located in. My contact confirmed his location, gave a few fun facts about his country, and then read a clue I had written for him to read that pointed the students in the direction for our next clue. In each box my students unlocked for each clue, they received a piece of a Rebus Puzzle that they would solve and put together at the end to give them their final Skype destination.
Aside from the animal riddle and slide, clues involved unscrambling words of countries and moving on a map to track directions, a picture coded message, and a South American video with questions on Edpuzzle. My students visited Nigeria, Philadelphia, Ireland, Uruguay, and Tasmania. When we were Skyping with the teacher in Ireland, he was working a few evening hours at a radio station. My students were able to see and hear inside an Irish radio station, complete with the teacher briefly pausing his conversation with us to jump on the air to transition between songs. During our Skype clue with Uruguay, the teacher was holding an after-school cooking class with several students. We were able to see the ingredients on the table for zucchini muffins with parmesan cheese and discuss the process by which it is made. With each clue solved and Skype connection, students were gaining a better understanding of the world and other cultures, while working collaboratively together for a common purpose.