Monday, June 30, 2008

General Excellence Award: Chuck Estep

Meris Stansbury, assistant editor of eSchool News, reports on the ten educators and three policy makers who were honored by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and Cable in the Classroom (CIC). The 13 were honored for advancing 21st century teaching and learning. One of the honorees, Chuck Estep, was featured for his work with Virtual Field Trips (VFTs).

Estep is the curriculum resource consultant for the Monroe County Intermediate School District in Michigan. He won the General Excellence Award for his Virtual Field Trips. Estep and fellow teachers worked closely with local historians and the Monroe County Historical Museum to craft lesson plans that adhered to state curricula. He started with a VFT of the battlefields of the War of 1812. So far, 70 classes and 2,300 students have toured these battle sites "through cable TV for a lesson in the region's history through movie trailers, film footage, music, animated presentations, short video vignettes, and a dynamic presenter."

Estep feels strongly about the value of integrating technology into teaching: "When we make technology a part of our methodology, our students are engaged in ways that otherwise would nearly be impossible. We have a responsibility to provide students with the opportunities to access, utilize, create, and learn using technology. It's malpractice to do otherwise."

In the future, VFTs could include a visit to an operating room. Estep also wants to create "on demand" VFTs so teachers outside the school network can use the trips anytime. The school's spelling bee and Quiz Bowl will also be streamed out through the Web.

Estep's cash prize will go toward more equipment to improve the Virtual Field Trips and other work being done by him and his colleagues to use technology to stimulate and teach. Congratulations, Chuck!

SOURCE: "Cable industry honors visionary educators" 06/23/08
photo courtesy of emilywjones, used under this Creative Commons license

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