How do you integrate technology into an author visit? Take the author on a trip to his own setting. Fifth graders at West Woods Elementary not only met author Roland Smith but invited him to climb Mt. Everest with them. Students in Ms. Bachman's class were reading "Peak", one of Smith's many novels when the author himself came for an assembly to talk about the writing process. Armed with Google Cardboards and the Expeditions app, fifth graders were able to take a tour of Mt. Everest through virtual reality as the author narrated. Students were amazed at the details and facts Mr. Smith shared with them about Mt. Everest as he was looking through the Google Cardboard. They asked him several follow-up questions about how he acquires so much information and the research that goes into his writing process.
Later in class, students participated in a full expedition to Everest with Digital Teacher Librarian, Kristen McCann. "Watching students engage in their learning and the connections that students were able to make to the text because of the experience was phenomenal," stated Kristen.
student conversations and questions overheard:
--"I don't think Holly will make it to the summit because she has not prepared her body physically or acclimated to the environment."
--"I am wondering if Peak’s experience climbing skyscrapers will be enough to tackle Everest."
--"What do these people do for jobs way up here?"
Patti Katsampes, West Woods principal, was also able to partake in the expedition with students. She marveled at how the experience brought together best practices in tech integration and instruction while bringing a real-world experience to the classroom, deepening their learning. Screenshots and an interview with Ms. Katsampes is included in the slideshow below.
Expeditions works in conjunction with Google Cardboard and iTouches or smartphones. One device acts as a guide, while all others have devices to follow in a 360 degrees photosphere. The guide can direct points of interest and followers will see white arrows appear on their screen. The guide sees smiley faces on their device so they know where their participants are focusing. Expeditions also provides the guide with content right on the screen.
Kristen has words of advice for those ready to embark on an Expedition: "Consider learning objectives and essential questions when planning for an expedition. What do you want students to walk away with? How will they synthesize what they learned? I can't wait for our next virtual trip. Maybe we will explore Mayan or Aztec ruins. To infinity and beyond!"
Learn more from Google's Expeditions website
How does a Jeffco teacher get started?
Contact your Ed Tech Specialist.