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Field Trips Get Virtual Treatment At Rockford School

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Jenna Dooley
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Students at Rockford Spectrum School test out Google's Expeditions Pioneer Program

On Thursday, students at the Spectrum Progressive School of Rockford held selfie sticks with cell phones while they roamed around capturing the normal sights of their classroom. Then, 3D creatures seemingly popped out of thin air right onto their screens-- from dinosaurs to spiders. It’s part of Google’s Expeditions Pioneer Program. Google associates train local teachers who then take their students on the virtual adventures.

Fran Middleton, Interim Executive Director, says the school’s focus on experience-based learning is a good fit for the technology. The school has about 90 students from pre-school to eighth grade.

“I think that they recognize that the way we teach our students-- to look at things and to figure things out by themselves -- was a perfect match for the two of us,” Middleton said.

Participating teachers are then asked to provide feedback on the program.

Jenna Dooley has spent her professional career in public radio. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois - Springfield. She returned to Northern Public Radio in DeKalb after several years hosting Morning Edition at WUIS-FM in Springfield. She is a former "Newsfinder of the Year" from the Illinois Associated Press and recipient of NIU's Donald R. Grubb Journalism Alumni Award. She is an active member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association and an adjunct instructor at NIU.