Posted by: 123vc | Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Day 3: Uncovering the Mystery

mystery-machineWow!  Can you believe we are finishing up our third day and only have one more day left in our summer session?  On one hand it feels like we just started, while on the other we have already come so far.

Today has been another jam packed day where we have done several things while consistently switching gears.  We started out the day with our roll call of local trivia from each site and then jumped in headfirst to MysteryQuest Beaches.  Not only was it another interesting videoconferencing format to experience, but it was a real treat to watch Ken stress out and flounder during his one man show as MysteryQuest Facilitator and Participant.  Some people thought they started to see his skin turn a bit green.  After a quick debrief we carried the discussion into lunch and started talking about the upcoming Global Nomads Group or GNG session.  That guest speaker session may have started out a bit slow with some intro’s and overview, but definitely picked up a bit as we dug into our “conflict tree” thoughts.  A touch of CAPspace and Wikis in Plain English followed before going into our third Small Groups session.  Today was all about flushing out the details of the project and putting it into a lesson plan format while also starting to put together the details for the commercial presentation tomorrow afternoon.

As you reflect on the new vocabulary you learned today and your experiences think about the questions below and post a comment.

*What new ideas for using videoconferencing in the curriculum did you discover today?

*What have you noticed about the interactions among the different sites?

*What do you think will be the biggest challenge for implementing videoconferencing in your setting this year?




  1. For me it is how to do a mystery quest and the challenges for me is to find a classroom to do a mystery quest with. I do not have a classroom but I work with the teachers at 12 elementary schools. I will be trying to find several schools to work with this next school year.

    • Jonathan, please don’t ever worry about finding a partner. We can help guide you through that process. It is a lot easier than you think! Please take us up on that.

  2. I really enjoyed the Mystery Beach activity and I think that this is an activity that I could encourage teachers to use in their classroom.

    As we have been working with the other sites, we have really begun to relate to each other and form relationships. I am going to miss everyone in CNYRIC and Houston tomorrow.

    The biggest challenge for me will be working with teachers who are using the equipment and training teachers on how to incorporate this into their curriculum. I really feel that we will be able to create some sort of training to encourage participation by teachers.

    • We will miss you too Cathy. It is a challenge to get others to understand what we experience during 123VC. I would say having them actually do it from a student perspective has the most impact and would encourage you to try that with your teachers. Please ask us for help along the way as well. We want to do what we can to help you succeed.

  3. Today was another successful and informational day. The mystery quest activity is an amazingly engaging and motivating activity that I plan on using with my students quite frequently. Not only am I going to use it with our study on animal adaptations and biomes, but I also would like to use it for various activities throughout the year, including videoconferencing with a class from another state and using mystery quest to figure out which states both classes are from.
    I have noticed that both groups have become increasingly comfortable interacting with each other, especially in our small groups. At times, I actually forget there is a camera and screen and feel like we’re right in the same room with each other.
    The only real challenge I can think of is finding content providers due to the number of students in my class. I am co-teaching next year and will have over 40 students total in my class. I have seen that most content providers have a maximum number of 30 students so I’m hoping that there can be some leeway in terms of number of students.

    • Tom, I have personally found content providers to be quite flexible and accommodating. I think the axiom, “ask and you shall receive” applies. Don’t assume anything. Ask the content provider if they can adjust for your class size or even adapt content to your grade level or specific curriculum objectives. I think you will find more often than not that they will work with you.

  4. I am really enjoying this video conferencing thing! I am feeling so confident today having had to use the remote while connecting to Texas today!
    Not only am I thinking about using this to connect with other classrooms in Science, I am also thinking of using it to connect my student council group with the Global Nomad group! What a way to make a connection outside of the core subject area and into the community area.
    I absolutely love the Mystery Quest! I am thinking I can collaborate with another classroom in order to guess the element; or guess the Law, etc. I would even like to use it as a means of peer review! In my Living Environment class we can set up an ecology lab quadrant and have students compare the ecology of their quadrant with the ecology of Lyncourt.
    As for the interactions between each site, I noticed that we are all more relaxed in front of the camera! As for me, I am not feeling as awkward with this technology. I am sooooo looking forward to using video conferencing in my classroom…as more than just a treat. I want to make it a staple somehow.
    I think that the biggest challenge I will have next year is deciding on when and who to use this technology with. I am so thankful for Amy and Nancy (who will be in our building 2 days a week) and will DEFINITELY use their expertise and time to help me get proficient.
    I am so thankful for all your expertise and patience. THANK YOU!!!!

    • Donna, I feel like you have grown so much during the week. I used to sponsor the student council at my middle school and connected them with another student council in the past. I think that is a great idea to have a “brother/sister” student council to partner with throughout the school year. It would be beneficial in so many ways.

  5. The mystery quest was fun and really makes the students think, collaborate and research. My mind started going a mile a minute on how I can use the mystery quest. I have many ideas using two classrooms with Italy and Spanish speaking countries. I also would make sure I have the students give only 5 details and create questions that are factual and helpful for the students to research. I really enjoyed this activity.

    The interactions are great between each of the sites. It is as if we have known each other for a very long time. We collaborate and interact very well. I enjoyed the GNG presentation. I must have known about them at some point because I had already liked them on Facebook. It was amazing to see how they could facilitate a group on a very difficult political topic. The interactions between are two groups are never attacking, but seem to be always of mutual understanding.

    Finding a group to videoconference with might be the biggest challenge I will have, but I know that Amy will help me find another classroom or teacher and I do many contacts.

    Thanks for another wonderful day!

    • Rosanne, if finding a group to videoconference with is your biggest challenge, we got you covered. Don’t worry about that for a second. We will support you in any way we can to help you do what you want to do for you and your students.

  6. I LOVE the Mystery Quest format and can see lots of ways to use it in my classroom. The biggest challenge for me will be transferring the skills I have learned to the specific situation we have at our building. It will take time and practice, but the benefits for the students will be worth it.

    • Kara, please don’t forget that we are here to support you. We want you to engage us for ANYTHING so we can help you transfer your knowledge to your specific situation. The last thing we want is for your understanding and enthusiasm to fade away.

  7. My mind is flying with ideas for MysteryQuest, I cannot think of something that MysteryQuest cannot be adapted to encompass. Everything from Social Studies and global locations that we did today, to guess what author/artist I am could be done through a setup. As teachers talk about Video Conferencing with so many things their number one concern is time… but the number of standards that any “quest” is touching on, both in the subject area, research skills, communication skills, creating questions makes it work the time. Today, I really noticed the Videoconferencing etiquette that we are all gaining, improving our skills on when to mute/unmute. I was impressed during the GNG presentation with how almost seamless the conversations were as groups muted to listen and unmuted to add something to the conversation. As someone without her own classroom my biggest challenge for implementing is getting the support and willingness of a teacher to “go for it.” Hopefully, I can take these resources and convince them that it is worth the time and effort.

    • You’re right Elizabeth, MysteryQuest is easily adaptable to all content areas and grade levels. Teachers using “Time” as an excuse is just that, an excuse. Videoconferencing is NOT AN ADD ON. It is a resource that can be applied to engage students in a more engaging, authentic manner.

  8. My third day of this workshop assist me to see the advantages, of videoconferencing experiences to share with my campus students, teachers and administrations. Building our lesson for tomorrow, sharing ideas and create our google doc presentation is a good learning experience.

    • Javier, in your role you really have the potential to touch many educators and spread the understanding of what you have experienced in 123VC. I hope you do that and engage us to help you with it.

  9. There has been a whirlwind of information in these three days, but it has been so good. There are so many great ideas and projects to use to enhance student learning and enrichment, not to mention “teacher” learning and enrichment as well. 🙂

    • It has been a whirlwind for certain! There has been learning on so many levels. We hope that whirlwind will carry back to those that you interact with and grow.

  10. Getting a first hand account from Dennis was phenomenal. I only thought of content experts in regards to inviting someone to share their knowledge. I think the biggest challenge will outlining pre-work and post-work activities while ensuring you have student engagement and authentic work while racing against the pacing guide clock. The interactions of the different websites it that it will be easy to search once familiar with the format.

  11. *I loved the MysteryQuest and I can already see different ways I can implement this tool with my colleagues in school and then expand global. I can see different ways to modify this and I loved the different ways I had to use the web in order to look for clues. Students will benefit from being able to explore different tools, research information, and process and infer in order to guess the mystery location from the activity. I was using different tools at the same time, tools that I had never used before, I loved this activity. It took me out of my comfort zone and it was done in a fun way, I know my students will love it.
    *My biggest challenge for implementing videoconferencing this year will be to find the time to incorporate all these lessons into my time frame. But I will overcome this challenge by taking baby steps and taking one lesson at a time.

  12. Implementing the MysteryQuest activity is a great idea that can be modified at most elementary grade levels. Using the Social Studies TEKS for each grade level would be an effective way to use videoconferencing.
    The biggest challenge for implementing videoconferencing next year may be initiating and executing a plan.

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