I am beyond excited to announce that I was chosen to receive a grant through the William and Ruth Janks Fund, a part of the Tuscola County Community Foundation, for $9,700. Although I actually received the confirmation weeks ago, the official check presentation was today and we are in the process of ordering.
What are we ordering you may ask? The majority of the funding will be going towards a 30 student class kit of Google Expedition. For those who have not heard of Google Expedition (GE) before, it is, at its core, virtual reality. How this is educational is all about the content. With GE, students are able to travel to places on virtual field trips. For our students, many of whom may never leave our county let alone the state, this opportunity to explore will be priceless. I feel a bit like Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus, being able to show my students what they previously thought impossible. In Miss Frizzle's words, "Let's take a closer look."
While there are a lot of applications to science and history, GE can be used in practically every subject area. Don't believe me? Here are a few examples. Science: Visit biomes like the rainforest or tundra. Social Studies: Visit battlefields such as Gettysburg while studying the Civil War. English: Give Greek Mythology some context by visiting the acropolis. Art: Why not visit a museum like the Louvre? Physical Education: While studying the body systems, why not visit them.
The other, smaller portion, of the project will include technology for my class (or others that are interested) to be able to create our own "expeditions" of our community and local historical areas. It is my hope that this will increase students' understanding of the world around us.
This grant project was inspired by this year's STEM@Schall grant, "STEM in the Real Word Expansion Pack", and future information about it may be placed in that section.
That's Elementary Explains is a teacher with almost 2 decades of teaching experience and a technology degree who is still trying to figure out the new and unexplained.