Saturday, October 10, 2009

GPS Travel

I saw a message on Twitter today that reminded me of a project I've had in the back of my head since last June. A teacher said that her students' geocache had made it from Florida to Washington, DC. She couldn't wait to tell the students. Since I took a few students on a geocache expedition last June, I've had it in mind to purchase some travel bugs and send them on their way. My son is in the picture holding the first cache we located.

Developing the Idea
I was talking with my husband and sons at dinner about the DC travel bug. As we were talking, my husband suggested that I start by trying to get the bug to move from our school's town to a neighboring town's geocache. I think that's a good idea to start the project. Next, I thought it might be useful to plant a geocache at my home where I could control things (and have a shorter trip to retrieve the bug).

As we ate, I realized that another "easy" trip would be to send the bug down to Florida to a teacher I'm comfortable working with online. As I continued to eat, I thought about other teachers who are far more comfortable with geocaches. My students and I could learn so much from a collaboration.

GPS Travel Wikispaces
I'm not sure if anyone has set up a project like this, so I created gpstravel.wikispaces.com this evening as an education wiki. I'm borrowing heavily from my work on monsterproject.wikispaces.com and timetravelexperiences.wikispaces.com.

In my mind I envision setting up some research for the students. They would learn and create artifacts to show what they learn about longitude and latitude, how their GPS unit(s) work, and what, if anything, they have done with geocaching.com.

As Anna and I developed the monsterproject wiki, we started including information to help the teachers. Based on that wiki I have a getting started, lessons plans, and helpful hints set of links on the new wiki. As other teachers join in they can add to those links.

Let the Games Begin
I have created the Google Form below to allow teachers to register so I can start tracking interest in this idea. I'll look forward to sharing a Skype call to brainstorm the lessons. We can all give it a try together and see where it leads.


6 comments:

  1. I have been following your blog for sometime... though this is my first comment here.

    Thought would drop by and send you this site for your opinion before I start using it with my class.

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  2. I've asked around a bit and couldn't find anyone who has used that site. I'm sorry, but since I haven't used it myself, I really don't have an opinion to share.

    Thanks for leaving the comment. If you end up using the site, stop back and tell me how it went.

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  3. I have been reading through your blog an you have some really interesting ideas! I am recently starting to learn more about using technology in the classroom to change the way students learn, and your blog is really great for this.

    I saw in your post that you mentioned twitter. A teacher at my school is doing something interesting with a little Twitter project. Each of her students has been signed up for an account, and they are responsible for tweeting summaries of the chapters that they have to read to the teacher. They seem to enjoy it because it is something more interesting than just giving a normal written summary, and the teacher really likes it because it helps make the kids be precise in their summaries, and it also helps create less paper waste.

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  4. Hi Jenine:
    I'm glad you're finding my posts useful. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

    My students are from Kindergarten through eighth grade. I really have not used Twitter with them. I tend to use it to speak with other teachers. A few of my eighth graders did participate in building a story a couple of years ago with several other classes around the world. The students seemed to enjoy it. Thank you for sharing what another teacher in your school is doing.

    Best wishes as you work to use technology with your students.

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  5. Hi Ann,

    Your "Building a Story" project seems really interesting! I feel as though this would be something exciting that I could do with my Spanish students at some point. So did you use some kind of a website where each class logged in and added to the story? How did you get in tough with the other classes that participated? Did you contact them previously, or did they happen to find the project on the website?

    Thanks for your insights!

    Jenine

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  6. Jenine:

    I often find collaborations with other teachers via Twitter. One day a few years ago, a teacher said he was going to do this and asked if anyone wanted to participate. I think about 10-15 teachers joined in. It was a one time project.

    One way to get a collaboration kicked off would be through a website called Classroom 2.0. Another is called the Global Education Collaborative. You could post a project idea in the Classroom 2.0 forum or add a project to the GEC database. Some projects that I help run have a bigger gathering of participants than others. A project I do with my second graders called Monster Project always attracts a lot of participants. Others, like Time Zone Experiences doesn't. You can never tell.

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