Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Today one of my schools participated in MysteryQuest. MysteryQuest to me is a perfect videoconference. It combines collaborating classrooms, active learning and student presentations. This project comes out of the Berrien County Intermediate School District (BCISD). This school district is located in Michigan and provides interactive videoconferencing not only for their schools but for schools all over the United States with collaborations like MysteryQuest. BCISD is also part of TWICE, which stands for Two Way Interactive Connections in Education. They are an organization made up of school districts in Michigan that support videoconferencing in K-12 education. I first became aware of TWICE when I took an online videoconferencing course with Janine Lim. Janine Lim is the Collaborative Projects Committee Chair and Webmaster for TWICE and also a Instructional Technology Consultant for BCISD. She is also the author of "Out on a Lim" her blog which I have a link to on my blog. The TWICE website is one of my favorite resources and I always share it with my teachers during workshops. Here is their website: http://www.twice.cc/
Now back to MysteryQuest. The MysteryQuest was about the western hemisphere. The 6th grade students had chosen the country of Guatemala. One of my colleagues had visited there this summer so I suggested she go in the class and share her stories and photos. She did. Some of the students worked on a powerpoint presentation. They had to pick a city too. So they chose Chichicastenango where many of the photos were from. They had to present clues for the city and country. Today they videoconferenced with six other classes. All had a mystery country and city. All had a presentation. All gave clues. Next the students were given 35 minutes to do research. We divided the class into 6 teams each used maps, an atlas, books and the internet to try and guess the mystery city. The Principal walked in when one of the other classes was presenting. She got so involved she did not leave until the end.
The enthusiasm and interest during the research part is amazing. After that the classes get to ask a clarifying question for each group. For example does your county start with the letter "G". If you get a yes you know you're on the right track. A no means back to the books. The students are given another desperate 10 minutes. Then it is time for the guesses.
Of our six teams, four got the country and city right, one got the country right but the city wrong and one wasn't in the right country. As for our mystery country and city, EVERYONE got Guatemala but NOBODY got Chichicastenango!