Teachers dream of giving their students the chance to talk to experts in far-flung parts of the globe. For instance, an Aeronautics Scientist...
"They talked about flight, the history of flight, what NASA does..." Recalls Science teacher Richard Smith. "Then, at the end they said, 'Well...here's our challenge. Can you make a shoebox fly?'"
A massive, whole class field trip to a NASA facility? Did a Flight Scientist travel to rural Minnesota? Not really. "We're using video conferancing to connect these students to other students across the country, even in other parts of the world." Explains Pete Royer of the Little Crow Telemedia Netowrk.
Using a technology called a CODEC allows schools to connect with each other and hook students into educational opportunities anywhere their imagination takes them.
"It's pretty much like a one-on-one conversation. They can talk back and forth and it's pretty easy." Says 9th grader Mitch Keenan. "it's pretty much like having them here."
The CODEC also allowed Tammy Rechtzigel's ESL students to make presentations to other students who were also learning English in a new land. "They got to talk to students from China and Japan that had moved to Australia, and are learning English in Australia." She said.
And the system gives students opportunities closer to home. "We get American Sign Language right now from Pine Tech, we get Chinese From Intermediate District 287 in Plymouth, so the kids out here in the rural areas are getting some of the same classes they get in the metro."
But the big question is, did the shoebox fly? To find out, click on "Video" and watch this week's Cool In School.