New Spin on Mystery Location Game with Periscope

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Author: Judy

The Basic Concept

The conventional Mystery Hangout or Mystery Skype has two classes simultaneously using the platform of choice, Google Hangout or Skype, to guess the location of the other school using yes/no questions. Many are familiar with the concept and plenty of information can be found online for running these class activities. Now Periscope offers a new spin on the idea.

Screen shot from the Twitter feed of the app

Two colleagues in advance who both have the Periscope app on their devices (iPhone, Android, iPad, etc.) make arrangements in advance. One colleague at Location 1 is in a place that does not obviously give away the location but has some hints available to show as the game progresses. In the classroom where students will be trying to guess the location, the teacher, library-media specialist, or IT coach has the selected device hooked up for projection and joins the Periscope just as the colleague starts the broadcast.

Some Tips

1) In advance of the Mystery Periscope (aka Mystery Scope), the “scoper” could put on a website or blog some pictures that won’t give away the location but offer some enticement to generate student interest. This step can also be skipped.

2) The “scoper” is on site at the location. The beauty of using the app as opposed to the standard Mystery Hangout or Mystery Skype is the “scoper” can easily move around, be on location out-of-doors, and make adjustments of what to show on the camera as the guessers text in questions.

3) The “scoper” could be prepared as the guessers come close to identifying the location to show a famous landmark at the site of the scope. Once the location is guessed, the “scoper” can tell about the landmark and more about the location. At this point, the students can continue to prepare questions or responses for the person showing the broadcast, who can text in to the “scoper” the students’ suggestions to keep the momentum going.

4) ** Important** The “scoper” needs to turn off Location setting in Periscoper before starting the broadcast.

See the first icon (up arrow) in the below image. The “scoper” would click and toggle until “precise location is turned off ” before the broadcast is started.

The second icon can be tapped if the “scoper” wants the broadcast private and wants to select who can see it from the list of followers, with the list popping up of followers once the icon is tapped. The third icon allows the user to determine who can chat (text in comments): anyone or just those selected by the “scoper.”

5) Time zones, which are often a hangup in organizing Mystery Location events with Skype or Google Hangout are less of an issue when using Periscope. The person doing the broadcast can go live any time that is convenient. Granted, this is just one class or perhaps more joining in to guess the location, but the person doing the broadcast is not in a school setting and nor should the person be at home. A setting convenient for the “scoper” that will be of interest to the students should be used. For instance, if I were doing the scope for young students in elementary school, I might be at Monterey Aquarium or the Bronx Zoo. For older students in a social studies class, I might be on the mall at Washington DC ready to show and speak about the Lincoln Memorial after the students figured out the location from me just standing on the mall but not showing any of the monuments until the location were identified.

How I Can Help

I am willing and able to go to landmarks, places of interest, and places that will generate discussion for the students viewing the scope. For instance, I could be on site at one of the landmarks in my own state or a neighboring state and because I travel often, I could arrange the scope per where I will be and input from the person who will be showing the scope to the specified audience.

Guess the Location

I am throwing in some screen captures from recent Periscopes I have done. Most of my broadcasts start with my location, but I would change  the format for a Mystery Location and not use that as a opening.

So here are some images from places I recently scoped with Periscope. See if you can figure out where I was.

Not quite enough information to figure out the location, at least in most cases, but images like these can be put on a blog in advance to pique student interest before the Mystery Location Scope. They can also be captured afterwards in a blog post to continue the discussion and add more information based on student interest and comments during the scope.
For more ideas about using Periscope, see my blog post, “Around the World in 24 Hours.” That post suggests ways to use the app for cultural experiences, studying famous places, and learning about natural wonders of the world.
For now, I simply offer the idea of a new spin on the conventional Mystery Skypes and Google Hangouts by using Periscope, which gives the person on the other end the freedom to move around and decide where to go based the comments texted in during the scope. The use of Periscope’s hearts can also figure in, with the person who is showing the broadcast tapping on the screen to send hearts based on how well the students are guessing the location.
So have you used Perisocpe yet? What are your thoughts and ideas for using this app? Do you think the app could put a new spin on Mystery Location games? 
Here are two examples of a Periscope I created and uploaded to YouTube, while in DC. Now the app also offers a way to save both the scope and comments, but at the time that I created these two, was not yet launched. I offer these two example to point out how a scoper working with a class on a Mystery Location game can offer insights into historical places and monuments. 

This post is crossed posted on one of my other blogs.

Is Being a Connected Educator Addictive?

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Author: Judy

Now that I’m using an increasing variety of tools to stay connected as an educator, I am wondering if the allure is addictive. Do I need to check each of these daily, or even more than once a day, and oh, sometimes hourly or less?

  • Twitter
  • Voxer chat groups
  • Periscope
  • Instagram
With ease of access to all of these on my iPhone, I am wondering what is overkill, and I have named just a few of the apps I use daily. Each leads me somewhere else via posted links or live streamlining videos. A Twitter chat alone can be not just the hourlong, but far longer if I check all the links to resources shared or to an archive with Storify.

Watching a Periscope and texting in comments is another half hour or hour shot.

Is all of this time worth it? Then, there is the never-ending stream of invites to webinars and following conferences online via Twitter and notifications to check a Periscope live-stream broadcast.

Look all those hearts coming in from a recent Periscope I watched and screen captures, tweeting out to the broadcaster my appreciation.

We say we want to be connected educators and it helps us grow professionally and connects us with educators and resources globally. We become better educators because we are connected and learn from all those others and resources at our fingertips. But do we go through withdrawal symptoms when we need to disconnect?
Last week, I dropped my iPhone in a park when taking photos. The phone was lost for a few hours. I had used iCloud to lock the phone and put out a text message alert on the phone to call a number if found. At first, I was somewhat relieved to know my phone might be gone for a day or two while I waited to decide if I wanted to buy another one and upgrade to an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6+. I almost felt a sense of relief, though I would still have my laptop and iPad to connect, but the phone really functioned as my quick 24/7 access, anytime, any place. 
Well, my dilemma ended when about two hours later I got the anticipated call my phone was found. Did I rush to get it? You bet. After all of this debating, I decided if I had to have one addiction (other than coffee in the morning) being a connected educator was the one.
Now another commitment I need to make is to do more blogging. But every time I look at one of my blogs, I am reminded they need a makeover. Look at all those Blogger scrabbled labels hanging out on the side (Index) and all the side Gadgets that just need to go. But instead of spending time cleaning up my blogs, I am off to another online place to stay connected.
I thank my PLN (personal learning network) for getting me to this point increasingly over the time of being a connected educator 24/7, or at least almost 24/7. So is it a complete addiction when the first thing I reach for in the morning before the cup of coffee is the phone to check notifications!
Oh and I do promise to clean up all those labels and other gadgets on the sidebar if I can just break myself away from checking Voxer messages, tweeting back and forth on Twitter, checking new posts to Instagram, and you following another Periscope broadcast. Oh, and I did I mention Flickr, where I need to get to now to find a Creative Commons images to add to this post.

flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

So how do others feel about being a connected educator? Do the pros outweigh the cons? So you take a tech sabbatical sometimes and disconnect?

Blog a Month

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Author: Judy

So it is Blog a Month time. Glad to participate, and above is the prompt. Because I have been teaching Educational Research this year, and not my regular educational technology courses, I have not been posting to this blog with my frequent regularity. Thus, it is good to see a challenge presented and to set aside time to do another post.

Yes, this quotation does resonate with me, especially the first two sentences. Each day, I do focus on purpose, especially when I’m teaching. Even when not in the classroom, am thinking of ideas for the classroom, which is one reason why I turn to Twitter, with a steady stream of tweets for gathering and prompting new ideas. I like to be creative, and sometimes just any tweet will spark an idea. So many wonderful educators share ideas and links to blogs, websites, and tech tools on Twitter. Twitter chats keep me even more focused. Just last night, I happened upon the #Read4Fun chat, a new chat, which garnered over 1200 tweets. How do I know that number? Well, after the chat, I went to Storify to gather them. I collected all of them, but the free version of Storify only allows for 1,000 entries in creating a Storify. Later, I joined the California Educators chat, #CAedchat. The topic was on “pimping your lesson plans,” with links to Google Docs to submit a plan for feedback and suggestions.

Tonight, I will be on #teacheredchat, one of the Twitter chats for which I am an organizer. Being an organizer means I am always in search of good guest moderators. All of this reminds me how critical it is to be a connected educator. Why am I a connected educator? I guess it is because I stay focused every day on my purpose as an educator.

Would love to know how the above quotation resonates with others. Hoping you’ll leave a comment, and if you are one of the participants in the Blog a Month challenge, leave a link to one of your posts.

I have several blogs and will cross post this one on one of those.

Looking forward to making connections and learning about how others stay focused.

It’s September: Time to Connect with Other Classes

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Author: Judy

September is a great time to plan global projects. 
Here are a few I recommend to teachers.

1) International Dot Day

Although the title says “day,” the concept extends far beyond. Numerous ways to connect based on the Dot Day phenomenon exist.

Check the International Dot Day site.

These videos offer a quick overview of ways to connect.

Two Libraries One Voice DOT Day Celebration

2) Global Read Aloud

This amazing project, going into its fifth year, connects classes through literature. Visit Pernille Ripp’s blog, Global Read Aloud blog, to keep current, and follow the project through Twitter, Edmodo, and other channels.

Here’s a run down on the books for this year’s project.

And a whole bunch of Peter Reynold’s books, which Pernille lists:

For those using Twitter, the hashtag #gra14 will put you in touch with others.

3) Comments For Kids on Twitter

You don’t need to be on Twitter to search with #comments4kids, but if you want to share your class’s or students’ blog, you need an account to post links.

Check these twitter posts for a sampling.

4) Blog Rolls

Once you find other classes to blog with, use a blog roll, making it easy for your students to find the other classes. When visiting other classes’ blogs, look for their blog rolls for further connections.

Here is a sample of a blog roll from one teacher’s class blog from 2013-2014.

5) Skype in the Classroom

Perfect way to find classes, guest speakers, and virtual field trips. 
Find lesson plans, participate in a Mystery Skype, and even check the Skype in the Classroom Facebook page.

6) Google Mystery Hangouts

This Google Community is another way to find classes to do mystery location video calls.

Also, check the Mystery Location Call Google Community to make quick connections with teachers and others looking to link up for class projects.

7) Quad Blogging

The Quad Blogging project has been around since 2011, and every year teachers sign up to participate with three other classes, with each class responsible during the weeks of their cycle. It is a great way to share information about cultures and geography, and learn about the beliefs of people who live in other parts of the world.

8) Voice Thread

VoiceThread as an online image, voice recording, video recording, and drawing app that makes it easy for classes to collaborate. The educator’s account is free, and the classes can use a teacher’s account to make connections. A VoiceThread Google Community posts periodic updates.

9) Special Projects Centered on Subject Areas

Here is one example of a Global Math Project. Play the presentation using the “go” arrow.

The possibilities for connecting one’s classroom globally increase daily as the technology continues to find its place in classrooms worldwide.

Personally, I use the Twitter hashtags #globaled and #globalclassroom to keep current of projects as they develop and to learn about conferences focused on making global classroom connections.

Sample of some recent tweets from #globaled:

How important do you believe it is for us to integrate global connections into our teaching? Does your curriculum allow for the possibilities? If you have connected globally, leave a comment to tell how an to extend the conversation.

Look Up: What’s the Tech World Doing to Us?

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Author: Judy

This video, though it used tech to create it and post it to YouTube to share, has a powerful message about how we are glued to our devices. The narration is done as a poem and questions us about how tech is isolating us.

You’ve heard the message before, but wanted to share the video because of the interesting way it was done and the images that were used.

Have you thought of disconnecting from tech? Does it take a storm (e.g., hurricane, tornado or other natural disaster when we lose power) to disconnect? Do you agree with the message in the video?

Digital Learning: What Do We Know About the Future?

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Author: Judy

Steve Wheeler shared this comprehensive slide show that says so much about technology over the course of time. Although the presentation has many slides, surely several will speak to you.

Leave a comment to say which speak to you and why. To view, check: Digital Learning Futures: 3 Things About Future Learning or click the below image, which will direct you to SlideShare to see the presentation there, but don’t forget to leave your comments here in a reply to this post. Thanks.

Blogging for an Audience

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Author: Judy

This semester, spring 2014, I am off-schedule to teach Computers in the Classroom, so I’ve started a blog for 8th graders in Iowa.

Why do this? Well, students in my Integrating Technology and Literacy course have been corresponding through blogging with this group of students. The students in my course, who are mostly teachers, have had the opportunity to see how blogging works by reading posts from these students in Iowa and responding.

So I started a blog for the Iowa students. I don’t know them personally. I only know them from reading their blogs. Each time one of the Iowa students writes a comment on my blog, I access the student’s blog and write a reply to a post. This process of writing replies is time consuming, given the number of students involved, but I feel that if a student takes the time to reply to one of my posts, the favor is reciprocal.

Here is my blog:

Here is their blog:

Did I mention the teacher? It is Scott Boylen. I met him on Twitter a couple years ago, and since then, when I teach Integrating Technology and Literacy, my students partner with his in a cross-class blogging project.  

Well, if you hop over Blogging with Iowa Students, you will see what I have been up to. You can also find the students’ blogs here: Mr. Boylen’s 2013-14 LA Class.

Assuming you looked at Blogging with Iowa Students and Mr. Boylen’s 2013-14 LA Class, what are your thoughts about the use of blogs to connect students with those outside of their class? What about teachers, such as the ones in my class, reading blog posts of students they don’t know and responding?

Really would like to hear from others about what you see as the value of blogging including cross-class blogging.

Will Richardson posted this on Twitter, and thought I would share it. Do you agree with him?

Building a Global Culture

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Author: Judy

What Is Our Culture?

As the name of this blog implies and is indicated by the sub-title, this blog was created to share ideas about integrating technology in the classroom. The primary audience is teachers, many of whom take a course I teach, called Computers in the Classroom. Others are invited to participate at any time.

For me, the culture of a school environment today should be about first building support for collaboration and trust among the members of the community. Once that is accomplished, members can then use technology tools to reach a wider audience.

Technology to Reach a World Culture

I encourage students in my courses, as well as others I blog and tweet with, in addition to members of Google Communities to which I belong, to expand their audience and the audience of their students to reach a global audience. Therefore, some of my favorite tools are:

  • #Comments4kids the Twitter hashtag: this feed allows educators to find student blogs for which a worldwide readership is sought for responding. In addition, William Chamberlain facilitates the Comments4Kids blog, which features weekly student blog posts looking for respondents.
  • The Quadblogging project, with information available from this project enables schools to participate in an ongoing collaborative blogging project.
  • The Global Read Aloud, held each fall, unites students around the world based on reading one of the selected books. The brains behind this project is Pernille Ripp, who maintains the Global Read Aloud blog, where you can find more information about the project and upcoming plans for fall 2014.
  • Skype in the Classroom, which provides a way for students to connect for Skyping around organized topics. There are also the Mystery Hangout (452 members as of 2/16/14), Google Community and the Mystery Location Calls, Google Hangout (483 members as 2.16/14).
  • In the fall, I also like to encourage participation in International Dot Day. This project enables students to get their creative juices flowing and to connect with others. I have watched students in my home state of Connecticut Skype with students in Maryland and Louisiana after participating in this project and showing what they have done to celebrate the event. 
Skyping to Connect on International Dot Day:
These are just some of the ways I work to create a culture of sharing and globalization. I believe the culture of our schools once firmly established with a level of trust built in within the classroom or school is greatly enriched by globalization projects.

Going Beyond Classroom Walls to Build Community 

I have listed just a few ways that I advocate for global learning, and welcome responses from readers to learn about projects in which you participate. I realize the Blog a Month Challenge is just one of these, a way for us to connect beyond the walls of our schools.

Culture to me today means knowing one’s own culture, but also encompassing within that culture a world view, and we need to do this for students, whether it means reading newspapers online from around the world, visiting online museums and historic sites from around the world, or traveling the globe via any one of the fashions now available to us through the Internet. But most of all, it means interacting with others and having meaningful understandings to develop a humanitarian world view of caring. 

Reaching Out to Others

What are some of the ways you work to build an environment in your school that invites others in and allows your students to communicate and share globally?

For additional information on how I envision creating a culture of globalization within the school to reach beyond the school, see these posts that I have created:

  • International Dot Day: 
  1. Connecting the Dots
  2. Skype for Dot Day
  3. Still Wondering What Dot Day Is
  4. International Dot Day Coming Your Way
  • Skype: 
  1. Skype in the Classroom
  2. Connecting Students Across the Globe
I am also creating a blog for an audience of middle school students in Iowa (Blogging with Iowa Students). I live in Connecticut. I write posts, and they write replies. My students (teachers) and I have been reading and responding to blogs written by students in this teacher’s class (Scott Boylen) for more than two years.

Another activity to consider is attending the Building Learning Communities, held in July in Boston, MA.

With some many online virtual opportunities open to us, we are remiss if we don’t work to build a culture of global understand and interaction. Do you agree? What has worked for you to build a spirit of globalization within your school culture?