The idea behind GeoConferencing is for two remote sites to use Geocaching and Video Conferencing to have a fun learning activity that involves multiple disciplines. The two sites would be using Geocaching to exchange Travel Bugs. One Travel Bug would start at each location and travel via multiple caches to the opposite schools starting cache location. While the Travel Bugs are in transit, the classes would give updates on the progress, where the bug is located, and facts about where the bug is and has been. This will be done through blogs and video conferencing. Below I have included a more detailed description of the activity.
The geographic range of GeoConferencing is limited only those willing to participate. The project can be between two schools in the same state as they study their states history. It could be throughout a region of states such as the original 13 colonies while studying the Revolutionary War. Or, if resources and time permit, it could be done internationally.
At the start the project the two schools will video conference to introduce themselves and their Travel Bug. They would be able to describe their home town, historical and geographic facts about the town and surrounding areas. They would also use this time to introduce where their Travel Bug will be starting their trip, introduce their blogs (if they haven’t already), and discuss their hopes for the project.
As the Travel Bugs are picked up and begin to travel, the students will be able to plot the course of the bug on a map, research information about where the bug was dropped off, calculate mileage and elevations, track weather patterns, research the cultures of the area where the bug is currently located, research historical events of the area, and any other information they may choose. As they are tracking their bug, they will blog about the details.
Throughout the duration of the project, the participates will periodically connect with each other through video conferencing to discuss the progress of their bug. During these connections, they will share not only basic information about their bug’s location, but also share the information they have discovered through research.
As stated before, the goal is for the travel bugs to end up in the other sites starting cache. If the bugs travel as planned, they will reach their destination in the designated time frame creating a successful, entertaining, and educating project that students will remember.
From an international perspective, if a site in another country is available, the students could learn about other countries and cultures outside of their native country. Trading a bug with a remote site is still ideal and more fun for the students; however, geography may pose a limitation. United States trading with Canada would not be a difficult exchange. United States with a European country could be difficult. An easy variation that would allow both sites to engage in this activity would simply be sending the travel bug around their native country. The sites could report on the bug within their country. To add a deeper level of research, the sites could report on each other’s bug. This would allow the remote sites to gain a strong understanding of each other’s culture, geography, political system, and anything else they may choose to research.