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MASA Leader Winter 2013

Connected Educator Jackson County Teachers Answer 21st Century Learning Challenge By Kim Powell Hmany middle school students bodies of water, famous landmarks, andinformation about landforms, climate,That is the question heard from “ ow soon can we connect again?” about their location. They researched in Jackson County after participating famous people, as well as important in the Mystery Skype project. historic events that took place in their state. The students from each class In October, the Jackson County generated ten clues to share with the Intermediate School District Ed mystery location via Skype, a video Tech Team teamed up with Iowa conferencing tool. Classrooms took Area Education Agencies to present a turns sharing clues to try and solve collaboration challenge to middle school each participant’s mystery location. teachers in their coordinating districts. Classrooms were asked to participate in Other roles include geographic locators, a Mystery Skype as a way to promote who use maps, an atlas, or Google Earth inquiry in research in the classroom. to help locate the mystery location Teachers are impressed of the other class. Photographers and The purpose of this challenge was to make with how engaged the videographers are assigned to capture connections to classrooms outside their students are during the the classroom collaboration that is local area; explore curricular concepts in taking place. Everyone participates to a collaborative, inquiry-based setting; and Mystery Skype. Students maximize the success of the Skype! use technology with students to complete are building connections the research. Teachers from nine districts Teachers are impressed with how engaged in Jackson County accepted the challenge. to their own state, as the students are during the Skype. well as extending their Students are building connections to Students prepared for the challenge their own state, as well as extending their by using their informational literacy responses to learn more responses to learn more about their collab- skills to come up with ten clues about their collaborative orative school, and the curriculum. Ted Densmore, a teacher at Western Middle school, and the curriculum. School in Parma, Michigan is already thinking about future Skype opportunities. “I would like students to start sharing During the Skype, all students are the projects they are creating in class actively engaged in the process. and teaching other students about Students are assigned roles that ask them via Skype,” Densmore said. them to carry out specific tasks while connecting with the other class. Some Students are also excited about the oppor- students use their speaking skills to tunity to connect and collaborate with present clues. Other students use their other students throughout the United listening skills to record the clues. States. 8 MASA LEADER • January 2013


MASA Leader Winter 2013
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