Virtual learning growing in schools

Virtual learning is expanding in Okanagan schools.

Virtual field trips are being provided in seven schools in the Central Okanagan School District as part of the Virtual Field Trips to Support Deeper Learning program.

A presentation to the school board was made Wednesday night by digital specialists Mark Hauk at McWilliams Centre and Merle Ross, video-production specialist.

“One of the things we’ve been doing lately that’s really exciting is these career spotlight sessions…the scientists can actually show students what they do,” said Hauk, adding the students can follow the scientists around and see their day-to-day activities.

“We have the technology now to be able to do that,” said Ross.

The students were able to view a live dinosaur dig, examine bats in Michigan and participate in dissecting seal scat while getting hands-on experience to dissect it.

The team uses cloud-based tools which allow the videos to be broadcast on a Smart Board or projector.

The project’s aim is to connect students around the world by video conference and bring the trips to every school in the district, said Hauk.

“The students are able to type chat their questions in,” said district principal – learning technology Jordan Kleckner.

It’s a chance to provide students with an opportunity to connect with experts, as some of them may never leave B.C., said Hauk.

The project is in its fifth year with a goal of more than 6,000 students participating in 200 virtual trips this year, doubling last year’s numbers, said Hauk.

A live dive of the Great Barrier Reef is scheduled on Feb. 21, at 1:30 p.m. at A. S. Matheson Elementary.

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