Acquiring funding for my Google Expeditions project was the biggest hurdle! I spent hours writing several grant applications to get the devices and the other components needed to execute my vision. I learned a lot in the process of writing these grants. It made me really think and develop my vision. I had to examine all aspects of what I needed and what was the best way to accomplish it. My project was fully funded through two local organizations grant programs, BGV Gives and The Summit Education Foundation. I feel grateful to be supported by the community I live in! The grants funded the purchase of 2 iPads, 25 iPods, viewers, cases, and charging stations to travel the world with Google Expeditions. Honestly, without receiving those two grants it would have been impossible to implement Google Expeditions on a full scale.
My 5th graders and building staff have had the opportunity to use the Google Expeditions set. When I wrote these grants, I wrote them with the intention to have all grade levels be able to access them. I think this is a powerful way to learn and therefore should not be limited to a set of students. If you have a project in mind, think about the impact you can have not only on your students, but your school or even district. In education, money is always an issue, but where there's a will there's a way! Find opportunities to fund you passion. Dream big because you never know what is possible!
Check out my interview about my Google Expeditions project with The Summit Education Foundation!
Never ever underestimate the power of real life experiences! I have no words to describe how I felt yesterday. I am literally speechless!
Today I saw a level of engagement, joy, and enthusiasm that is indescribable. This past weekend I listened to a keynote speaker who said, "make every week like shark week." As I've tried to make everyday this week like that, I felt that yesterday was my shark week! As much as the students craved more, so did I! I didn't want our time to end!
Yesterday, was our first Google Expedition! I didn't tell the students we were doing it as I didn't want to create too much hype, in case it was an EPIC failure. Fortunately, it was a wild success. While we didn't have the typical internet connection issues, we did struggle with some uncharged devices, due to a faulty charger. Devices lasted just long enough for all 32 of our students and a slue of other teachers to experience several expeditions. Teachers popped in and out hearing about our expedition in progress and they were just as inthralled as the students. This included my principal, 1:1 paraprofessional, special ed teacher, and one of our 1st grade teachers.
We explored a variety of human body systems using the Google Expeditions app. Students used knowledge that they learned in our recent unit of inquiry to make sense of the systems they were viewing. They were able to make connections and inferences to create understanding of what they didn't know. I was blown away by their ability to reason and make sense of new and unfamiliar material.
I have had questions of how VR is relevant in the classroom. My response is always... how is it not? Yes, VR is fun and students enjoy it, but some teachers wonder how can it be brought beyond of the oooh and ahhh of looking. Today was evidential proof that students can move beyond that looking stage and start relating to what they are seeing and what they already for an authentic learning experience.