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Principal’s Corner: Learning through virtual field trips

Principal’s Corner by Nick Sofio

Did you know students at Lakeview this year have taken field trips to Antarctica, a turtle hospital in Florida, and Yellowstone and Mount Rainier National Parks? 

Our students were able to participate in these field trips without leaving Albert Lea. Technology affords our students wonderful opportunities to learn each day and virtual field trips would be one example. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Laura Wangen’s first-grade classroom. Working with our media specialist, Kristen Seeger, the students were experiencing a virtual field trip through Google Expeditions. Through this app students were able to explore — on their own — a region of the world by using their iPad. In this instance they visited a variety of ocean habitats by moving their iPad to see different areas. 

Nick Sofio

Lakeview third-graders recently visited Grand Teton National Park to visit with park rangers. Using Skype, the park rangers reported from their snow desk at the base of the mountain. In case you are wondering — yes, it was an actual desk made from snow! 

Students were gathered on the floor of Nicole Peterson’s classroom, where they were able to learn more about the different forms of liquid, the water cycle and how it affects the park and its animals, as well as the importance of water conservation. 

Teachers Mark Nechanicky and Melinda Talamantes have provided our fourth-grade students with a number of virtual field trip experiences this school year.

Each are memorable in their own way; however, the turtle hospital and Antarctica visits were quite exciting for students.

The one-on-one interactions between the students and the scientists helped deepen student understanding of the scientific method, the importance of making detailed observations and purpose behind their work.   

We are excited to see where our learning takes us next!

Nick Sofio is the principal of Lakeview Elementary School.