A couple of weeks ago my students, colleague, and I embarked on a new project at our S.T.E.M. and PBL based school, Vancouver iTech Preparatory. FVvr (pronounced fever) is a project in which our Washington State History studnets work as historians, curators, and archaeologists to create a virtual reality tour of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. This is an ambitious project that has been in the works for well over a year.
To make this project a [virtual] reality (pun intended), we had to work with the fort and the National Parks Service. We meet several times trying to figure out what we might do. And, while we have some ideas, the fun part is not knowing exactly how it will turn out. We have a deadline, have had the curators and park rangers visit our school, and have had a scouting field trip already.
Right now students are selecting the artifacts that they want to research and collaborating in their teams to map out the building and other locations that they will need to photograph next week. Some teams are emailing the park rangers and asking them questions in preparation, other are sending them pictures of items that they want to know more about. It is amazing to watch the students step up and craft well written professional emails as they communicate with the rangers. This is part of the PBL experience that I am passionate about. I facilitate, but they are doing the work. They are getting the experiences.
Next week, we head back to use our special Theta S cameras to take 360º photospheres throughout the park. I can't wait to see how they deal with the sharing and utilization of the technology. The goal is to provide our students with the experience of creating something not just for themselves, but for our community, and the world. It is important to learn and explore our local history. It'll be even more fun to share it beyond our borders.