Ashwaubenon and West De Pere school districts have partnered to offer students virtual Wisconsin field trips. The website, WiscoVR.org, provides five different opportunities for students to use virtual reality goggles such as Google Cardboard to visit places they might not typically be able to see. Those adventures and destinations include a trip to the Wisconsin Environmental Center Fallen Timbers, learning how to make maple syrup, and visiting a Native American Wigwam with assistance from the Neville Museum in Green Bay. There is also a Community Helpers page that was made to assist area kindergarten teachers.
Wisconsin is the top cranberry-producing state with 62% of the country’s crop coming from our bogs. WiscoVR takes students into the Habelman Bros. Company in Tomah, the world’s largest fresh cranberry grower and packer. There, they learn how cranberries are grown and harvested through photos, text, 360-degree views, and Google View.
Students can also take a virtual field trip to Heritage Hill State Historical Park in Green Bay. The park has 24 historical and reproduction buildings representing the early history of Northeastern Wisconsin from 1672 to 1940. WiscoVR partnered with Heritage Hill to produce videos, images, and a 360-degree view of the park for students to explore. Buildings featured in the virtual field trip include the Cotton House, a roadside chapel, a cheese factory, and a maple sugaring shack.
The brainstorm of Instructional Technology Coordinator Jamie Averbeck of Ashwaubenon School District and Jen Zurawski of West De Pere School District, the project partners are planning to expand the virtual field trips to include more Wisconsin sites with quality photographs and 360-degree experiences for students. Averbeck states that “Through conversation, Jen and I realized that our vision of relevant virtual content for students was the same. The next logical step for us was to create our own local content, as it relates directly to our standards.”
Averbeck also highlighted the importance of the connections that made this project possible. “The community partnership is this project has been amazing, from local fireman to the Neville Public Museum, engaging our community with our instructional technology coaches as partners in education has been pretty powerful. This has truly been a team effort of ASD, WDPSD, and our community.”