Technology taking students on virtual fieldtrips

Taking students on field trips inside the classroom
PLAINVIEW Eyewitness News reporter Nina Pineda has the story.

A group of school kids at H.B. Mattlin Middle School in Plainview took a virtual trip to the Carribean Island of Monserrat.

Their simulated mission is to save the people who live there from both a hurricane and a volcanic eruption.

Field trips like these are taking students to places they might never go, while challenging them to problem solve real-life events like the volcanic eruption in Monserrat in 1996.

"It's very interesting to know how little islands can have major disasters," student Alex Kam, 5th grader said.

"There's no trip slips, there's no buses...the kids can go anywhere they are, there are many providers. They can go to zoos, museums and all the simulations similar to this," said Guy Lodico/Dir. of Technology, Plainview-Old Bethpage Schools.

The video conference is run by the Challenger Learning Center in West Virginia.

Students spend weeks preparing for their virtual disaster drill. Once the big day comes, they make charts, collect data and pass their information on to a mock NASA mission control.

"It creates an engaged environment in the classroom instead of by 25 students watching a video conference, and she's able to challenge the students more, if need be," another teacher from Plainview-Old Bethpage Schools said.

It's a unique learning experience that motivates kids on many levels.

"The things that we do are more advance but they're more fun...," a student told Eyewitness News.

"It's so cool getting radio messages and it's really fun, it's really exciting," another student said.

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