Planning ahead for next year – take part in The Climate Mystery

I know, I know – with the near summer weather we’ve had until recently (at least here in SE England), it’s difficult to think of anything but summer holiday. In this post, however, I’m going to ask you to think past your long-awaited and much-deserved summer holiday to your new school term next autumn.

In September, 2009, Microsoft and a Danish company called Congin will launch The Climate Mystery – an Altered Reality  Learning Universe about the global climate challenges. From September to December, The Climate Mystery will involve participating students in an epic online story that will pretend to be actually happening, in real time. The dramatic online story will climax during the COP15 Climate Summit, held in Copenhagen. ClimateMystery

Our Innovative Teachers heard about this project from one of its creators, while we were in Vienna. Scottish teacher Ollie Bray wrote about it on his own blog HERE. Let me try to explain what it could mean to you.

The Climate Mystery is directed at students age 12-16 and aims to “hook” them with dramatic, fictional events, engaging them in a social network and allowing them to interact with online learning games – all based on the premise that soon they will be involved in saving the global climate.


The Climate Mystery can be implemented as a blended learning process, and can absorb different roles in lessons on climate issues. It can be the main element in the lessons on climate, a motivating introduction to the subject - or an element for gathering and evaluating within a larger educational framework. In addition, The Climate Mystery can be used in the students’ free-time. The aim is for the game to be so engaging, that the students stay with it beyond their school-related obligations.

Teachers are provided with a large array of materials (everything from a teacher’s guide to suggested lessons, to possible student work and assessments) to allow them to use these “real” scenarios to teach about global climate challenges.

This the second such “Altered Reality” learning experience introduced by Congin; the first was available only in Denmark and was a huge success, with students thinking that the events they were seeing unfold were actually happening. Kids were logging on to the social network and communities at all hours of the day and night trying to help the “star” of the adventure find his way to safety – and thus save the world from certain disaster.

All information you need on The Climate Mystery can be found here:  This is also where you can register your interest and ultimately sign up your class to play the game.

So before you get too far into the stress of exams – and the bliss of holiday – do a little investigation into using The Climate Mystery in your classes next year. Think of all the extra time you’ll have later when you don’t have to plan as many lessons from September to December!

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