Monday, April 29, 2013

iBoat Mini Maine Sets Sail

My school district has an alliance with four other school districts and together we are the Sebago Alliance. This year we decided to experiment with an iBoat Project, a mini boat attached with a GPS locator and placed in the Atlantic Ocean with only a sail as its guide. During our Student Tech Camp last August, a few students from the Alliance built a mini boat. Some teachers met during the Teacher Tech Camp, also last August to create some lessons revolved around the iBoat Project. During the month of September the iBoat visited many of the schools within the Alliance. Students were able to touch the boat and make artifacts for the flash drive that was placed in the hull of the mini boat. Then the boat set sail in November. We have been tracking the boat and having contests on predicting the boat's location on a certain date. I created a site to guide students on the prediction process and help them learn a little about latitude and longitude. The real fun will begin when the boat lands and we can have contact with whoever discovers the iBoat.

Right before the iBoat set sail I had some of my students create predictions on the final destination of the iBoat by using Skitch on iPads. Skitch can also be used on a computer. Since the iPads were very new to the students at that time, I did demonstrate the app. Those kinds of lessons are not as necessary now that students have become comfortable with exploring apps and the students even come up with uses I have yet to dream of. In the Skitch lesson, I model how students can make a prediction on where the iBoat will voyage to by drawing on a map using Skitch. Then the students were set lose to make their own prediction. Once the boat is beached, students will check their prediction and compare where the boat actually lands to where they thought it would land.

Next year the Alliance will be purchasing a boat for each of our five districts and the iBoats will set sail as a fleet of five. Our hope is to design this fabulous opportunity as a PBL adventure during Tech Camp this summer.