CAROL’S SUMMARY: A three-dimensional Virtual Learning Environment developed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) with the university’s Center for Technology Education will allow Baltimore County’s Chesapeake High School students to explore the area surrounding Mount St. Helens this fall without leaving their classroom. The area around Mount St. Helens was chosen because the ecosystem has changed dramatically over the past 30 years and begins to integrating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts into the virtual environment. The classroom and lab will be incorporated into the school’s environmental science and geometry curricula this school year, with plans to extend to social studies and English next year.
Today’s students are tech-savvy and most are avid video-gamers. Programs like this will help engage students within a medium they already show interest in and create cross-disciplinary courses and curricula. A giant step in the direction toward improving national graduate rates as recent surveys list boredom as the number one reason for high schoolers to drop out. That’s why my new book, Critical and Creative Thinking for Teenagers, co-authored by Maureen Breeze, includes innovators from the past and present to reinforces the skills discussed, as well as, incorporate academic subjects such as statistics and science.
Do you think the Virtual Learning program will succeed at raising student achievement?
Do you think these skills will make American students more competitive with global students?
It’s important for teachers to be interested in what they teach as well. Do you think programs like this would develop more effective and invested teachers?
The advantages to such a classroom seem obvious. What are the drawbacks and how could you solve them?
by Maya T. Prabhu
August 24, 2009
Students at a Baltimore County high school this fall will explore the area surrounding Mount St. Helens in a vehicle that can morph from an aircraft to a car to a boat to learn about how the environment has changed since the volcano’s 1980 eruption.
But they’ll do it all without ever leaving their Chesapeake High School classroom–they will be using a three-dimensional Virtual Learning Environment developed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) with the university’s Center for Technology Education.
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