Mystery Skype with a Twist

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Mystery Skype

Asia Victoria Skype

Mystery Skype is becoming increasingly popular with schools around the world. Connecting with schools has never been easier. https://education.skype.com makes it easy to find teachers and classrooms around the world to connect with. However, for schools in Asia, connecting with English speaking schools in the Western hemisphere is a challenge. Most schools in the US or Canada for example are between 12 and 15 hours behind. Australian and New Zealand schools are only an hour a head of us here in Korea but because of my school’s unique schedule, we often begin our classes when their classes finish.

Skype with a Twist

Victoria Asia Skype

My students create a variety of video projects. We have our own little news show, we create scary movies for Halloween, and we often choose a video project for different presentations. Therefore, we decided to create videos for Mystery Skype!

The first step was to find a school willing to work with us. I’m happy to say it didn’t take long. I was able to find a teacher in Alberta Canada that was excited to be a part of this little experiment. The next step was to arrange how the videos would be shared. We use Youtube for our blog posts so I suggested using it for this project. To avoid privacy concerns we uploaded unlisted vidoes and shared the links with each other. Another option would be to use Dropbox. It’s pretty simple to use but it’s also easy to run out of space quickly. The final step was to decide on what kinds of questions to ask and how many hints to give. We decided to ask only yes or no questions and each student could share their own hint.

Not Quite Finished 

My students were very excited to get started and very eager to share information about their culture and country. We’ve shared three videos so far and we plan on sharing at least two more. It didn’t take long for us or them to figure out our countries. To keep the game going a little longer we asked the students to try and find the city. We gave more detailed hints which guided the students in their research. Since it’s Halloween we will share a little bit about our Halloween customs with our new friends.

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Telestory

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 A New App from Launchpad Toys

The creators of Toontastic launched a new app called Telestory. I was fortunate to have early access to the app before it was released. Let me share a little bit about the app and how I used it in class.

Telestory

Telestory is an unique story telling app, which allows you to record video stories with digital costumes and effects. In the current edition there are three themes to choose from. 1. The Band 2. Star Adventure 3. Eye Spy.

The Band

In The Band you can record your favorite song, compete in a singing contest or be a judge. Within the band there are four scenarios to choose from. Each scenario offers a different background. For example, the Jam gives you two different musicians to choose from, a lead singer or a drummer.

Eye Spy

In Eye Spy you will transform yourself into a secret agent. Similar to the band there are five scenarios to choose from. One of my favorite scenarios puts you behind the wheel in a getaway car. This scenario takes advantage of the iPad’s back camera.

Star Adventure 

For all those kids and adults who love Star Wars and science fiction, this is the scene for you! With five unique scenarios, Star Adventures is by far my favorite scene. In the Bridge scenario take control of a starship. Make contact with an alien race and defend the Galaxy from evil.

Using the App

Once you have decided on a scene you are promoted to either pick a story (notecard) or write your own. Each scenario supports only one notecard with about 70 characters of space. After choosing your story you are then prompted to choose a wig or costume. There are several different wigs and costumes to chose from. The app does a good job of facial recognition and the costumes stay in place even if you move around. Each scene has two cameras and four different effects adding to the fun of the app. For example, in the Bridge scene, camera one shows you as the captain of a starship where camera two you are projected on to the bridge screen as an alien!

When you’ve selected your costume for both cameras you are ready to go! Similar to Toontastic you have about 60 seconds in each scene to record your story. The number of scenes you record is based on the total time. You have ten minutes to record. Therefore, you could record ten 60 second clips.

After recording all your scenes you have the option to send your new creation to Toontube or you can download the video to your camera roll.

 In the Classroom 

As much fun as it is to create silly videos with my daughter, the classroom applications for Telestory is what has gotten me most excited about the app.

Digital Storytelling

The iPad has opened up an entirely new and exciting way for children to share their stories. Digital story telling offers numerous benefits for students as well as teachers. Launchpad’s first app is an example of a tool, which every primary and elementary teacher should have in their classroom. Telestory is another tool that teachers can pair with Toontastic or use it independently to offer students a new and creative way to create and share stories.  


Lesson Plan

Creating a story with Telestory is not unlike writing a story in a notebook or creating a movie. It’s actually a little bit of both. With my first graders (EFL students) we begin by choosing one of the three themes (Eye Spy, The Band, or Star Adventure).  Next we review the different scenarios from the scene we’ve chosen. For example, in our last project my students chose to create a story with Eye Spy. I asked students to choose a scenario. Once the scenarios were chosen we began to brainstorm our story as a class. The first time I introduced the app we created a class story. My classes are very small 4-6 students so for larger classes you could split the students into groups of 4-5.

With my first graders we brainstormed the story and vocabulary we would use in our Telestory. Each student wrote 2-3 sentences for their cue cards. To record the stories we use an iPad holder and a tripod. For some of the scenes you could move the iPad around to create a better effect. However, I was a little nervous with first graders running around the room with our class iPads so I opted for the tripod.

With all the scenes recorded on one iPad it was easy to export the movie to the camera roll. I recommend exporting the movie to the camera roll because you can view it full screen on an Apple TV more easily.

App Smashing 

To take the lesson a few step further I would recommend using a few more apps to enhance the stories. Sending the Telestory movies to iMovie and adding music and sound effects is quite simple and a lot of fun.

Another way to use the Telestory movies is to combine them with Toontastic! The Telestory parts would act as closeups for different scenes in Toontastic.

If you are really adventures you could combine Telestory, Toontasic, and Green Screen App (DoInk). It’s actually very simple to create and a lot of fun. Check out my daughter’s creation!

If you haven’t already done so check out Telestory and Toontastic on the App store

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/telestory/id915378506?mt=8

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/toontastic-school-edition/id563403725?mt=8