Thursday, December 12, 2013

Getting things ready for our first Mystery Hangout

Last weekend I attended a typically mind-blowing GAFE Summit in Montreal, where I was fortunate to attend a session by EdTechDiva Holly Clark called "Get connected: your students and the world". One of the things she talked enthusiastically about was live video-conferencing in a format called "Mystery Skype/Hangout". This is a topic that has been quite popular on educators' social media sites recently. It is high time for me to try it out!

In short, a Mystery Skype/Hangout is a real-time, live game played with two groups of students from different locations. Students take turns asking questions to the other class to determine their location (Yes/No answers only). The goal is to guess the other classes' location before they guess yours. Any video conferencing tool will do but Skype and Google Hangouts are the most popular (Click here to see the Mystery Skype community).

Since I am new to Mystery Video conferencing, I delved into researching it first. I found many wonderful sites explaining how it works, with lots of video examples to view.

There are a couple of great Google+ Communities to connect with other interested teachers for a Mystery Hangout. However, I noticed that this trend has not seemed to have hit the Foreign Language teaching community yet (although many teachers in the French Immersion community have been doing Skype Mystère).

I therefore created a Google+ Community for Mystery Hangouts for Foreign Language Teachers and now my hunt for classes to "Hangout with" is on!

I have been thinking a lot about how this is going to actually work. Most people recommend that the class members take on different jobs. I'm thinking of a different approach, however. My class is set up in 5 groups of 4 students, so my idea is to give every group the same resources and each group works together to come up with good questions and possible answers. These are the resources I envision giving each group:

1. A laminated list of suggested questions on a question schema so that everyone understands the flow of questions and how to eliminate locations.
2. Binders with maps. Click here for a list of maps I have photocopied and laminated. Click here for the first page in the binders.
3. A dry erase marker to follow the question schema and to cross out eliminated areas of the maps.
4. A laptop for more research.

Each group will choose a representative to ask one question. We will just go from group to group getting a question from each group to the end of the game. Afterwards, if there is time, we will ask more open-ended questions to learn more about our each other and our communities.

Do you have experience with Mystery video-conferences, or would you like to participate in one? Please see the links to the right to get more information and to connect with other teachers with similar teaching areas. Or just leave a comment below!

A bientôt!


(Map binders are ready to go!)

Click here for original (Go to "File > Make a copy" to make your own editable version. Click here for instructions on how to customize your own time zone map to go with your school.


  1. This sounds awesome! I teach grade 6 and 7 Core French in Brampton. It will take me a month or two to see if I can figure out the technology but would be interested in doing this in March.

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