Each December, the WKBN 27 Caring for Our Community campaign recognizes four teachers across the Valley and surprises them with $500. Teachers apply to win, then a panel picks the entries with the best ideas.
BERLIN CENTER, Ohio (WKBN) – Our third winner comes from Western Reserve High School in Berlin Center, Ohio. Paul Henderson is the 11th and 12th English teacher.
Henderson said the COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges in teaching. He has seen the benefit of field trips and hands-on interactions for his students, and he was looking to find a way to give students those experiences while remaining safe from the coronavirus.
Henderson said he has been using Google Classroom for his students for the past four years, and one of the features he has been unable to take advantage of is called Google Expeditions. Google Expeditions is a free software/app that introduces students to a new way of learning with virtual reality and augmented reality.
Some examples of virtual experiences are to take a tour of Mount Everest or the Louvre, bring a tornado or a beehive into your classroom.
He plans to use his $500 winnings to purchase viewers for his students. Students would download the Expeditions app onto their phones and then slide their Smartphones into the viewer to get to the assigned expedition. Each student would work through their own experience of the assigned expedition.
“Overall, in a world that has become more and more virtual due to the coronavirus, it has become necessary for us as educators to create experiences for our students that show them the real world outside of their own backyard,” Henderson wrote in his application for the grant.
“I’m certainly not the only one who has had to be creative and flexible in these times. All teachers have had to come up with new ways of doing things, and I think the students from that, they have also had to do learn to do things in new ways,” he said. “It is all a little disheartening, but at the same time, I look at it as an opportunity to try new things and experiment with new things.”
The Creative Classroom Contest is made possible through the WKBN 27 Caring for Our Community campaign in partnership with Huntington Bank, Window World, Dunkin’, One Health Ohio and Columbiana Chrysler Jeep Dodge and Ram Truck.