Members of The Success Foundation had the pleasure of visiting grant recipient Mr. Gerrick Zwickle, a 4th Grade teacher at Ann K. Heiman Elementary School, last week. The grant helped partially fund a $10,000 Google Expedition Kit. The kit included devices for 30 students, as well as a teacher device that gives Mr. Zwickle the ability to click on objects he’s discussing and highlight them through the students’ devices.
Friday’s virtual journey was through Native American history. Students had been previously instructed to do some research using UNC’s Native American Student Resources, and use the information they found there and notes from their class discussion to write a paragraph. Mr. Zwickle divided his students into two groups. In rotation, the students did some final research on their computers, and went on a virtual reality field trip. Our staff was able to travel alongside them as they went through traditional Native American culture. We started in complete darkness, with only the stars and moon lighting our way, then went to check out traditional Native American clothing and headdresses. Mr. Zwickle elaborated on what the clothing was made out of, and how all of the colorful designs were created. Next, we made our way to the inside of a tepee where we were able to see the traditional setup for this portable home. It consisted of a bed, a firepit, and a place to hang up clothes to dry. Our last stop was through the “Gathering of Nations”, a traditional horse parade, where Native people come together and celebrate their heritage. The attendees dress in full costume, and ride their intricately decorated horses through the parade.
This virtual reality field trip was like a real-life magic school bus. We were completely transported to a different world, without ever leaving our seats. “With this technology, I can put students on a ship full of immigrants in the year 1930, or in Times Square in August 1945 on the day World War II officially ended as we explore about the American history.”
What an amazing opportunity for these students, and a wonderful and creative way for them to learn and stay continually engaged. Thank you for inviting us into your classroom, Mr. Zwickle!