FVvr Reflections 2016

Makayla Barger:
iTech 8th Grader

        The FVvr project has been my favorite project I've ever done in the 3 years I have gone to iTech. I like the way we get to write, research, narrate, photograph, and learn. We have gotten to learn how to use the 360 cameras. I have learned so much about the Fort in a way that was really fun. I really liked the fact that we got to help on the final tours that will be sent around the world and the website. I also liked that we got to come to the Fort and take the pictures ourselves, write our scripts ourselves, and learn all about the different aspects of the Fort and the different parts of history behind it. I really like that we got to choose the building that was interesting to us to work on. I don't think this project would have been as fun or interesting if we didn't get the chance to focus on a building that we were interested in.

Parker Uphoff:
iTech 8th Grader

     Three years ago, when I started a career at iTech as a 6th grader, I never thought I would be doing something this big. The fact that middle school students can create something what will be displayed to the public, and be used for years to come is almost unbelievable. I have also never been so challenged to do something as big as I have done for this project. The hours of writing scripts, recording and making virtual tours can really drive some people away from the iTech style of learning. However, for the few that chose to go the extra mile and spend their time making things like these tours for the public to use for years to come, it really makes you want to tell everyone that you indeed make this amazing technology that can make someone in Japan learn about Fort Vancouver, maybe even someone 100 years from now will learn about Fort Vancouver.

Abi Evanson:
iTech 7th Grader

        “I’ve found that small wins, small projects, small differences often make huge differences.” I heard this quote by Rosabeth Kanter a bit ago and it comes to mind when I think about this project. In all, there is a thousand different explanations that I could use to describe it! Some parts really have been aggravating and challenging in all of it’s different criteria. Nevertheless, that’s part of what makes it such a great project. Throughout all the various challenges we’ve had, we were able to learn from that and “grow up” a little more by that experience. And though there has been mistakes, that just means that we would be able to learn the way to solve it which means new ways to control the technology. Overall, it really has been an amazing involvement for all of us. We’ve been able to have technology in our own hands that I’m pretty sure not any other schools are able to have. The first time Mr. Zingale introduced us to this project and we started on it, it truly was one of the most fascinating things we have ever done in his classes. It was unlike any other since we were using this whole new piece of machinery and the technology itself was astounding. Using 3-D images to go into a virtual reality (with the photospheres) opened a big concept for the ways you can advance in the future.

Sophia Zabell:
iTech 8th Grader

        Technology is what is shaping our future. Fort Vancouver is our past. Bringing them both together into an educational experience for not only me to learn about the history and how to use virtual reality, but also potentially for people across the world to access the technology my peers and I used to learn about history is great. We are reaching out to people that may be learning about U.S. history and how fur trade was important, and giving them an in-depth view at something that could be thousands of miles away from them. Personally getting to work with a team, using such complicated and interesting technology that is bringing this knowledge to people around the world is a privilege that I am happy to say I was able to have.  

Weston Goff:
iTech 8th Grader

        I heard about this project at the end of last year. It was hinted that we would be photographing Fort Vancouver in 360 degrees. Looking back on the project, I cannot think how it could have ended up better. We were able to take pictures, compile information, and publicly display everything we did for anyone around the world to see. I think this is amazing, that a group of students from a small school in Vancouver are able to share detailed information about something that is important to us with everyone across the globe. My favorite piece was the technology surrounding this entire project. I love the 360 cameras and would love to mount one to a drone in the future so that I could take 360 aerial photography. As the communication of the world becomes more visual, I think tools like the 360 cameras, ones that help us communicate better, will become increasingly important. I hope that years from now the images and information from this project will be available for anyone to use.

Theresa (Tessa) Langford & Bob Cromwell:
Curator Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

          From the very beginning, we were excited about this project! It combines so many things that are at the core of what we do in the National Park Service: helping young people explore history, engaging new audiences by being creative with how we share the stories of our park, and incorporating technology to showcase our resources in a new light.

         The project went very well. There were several steps, classroom visits to talk through the history and archaeology of Fort Vancouver, in the wider context of regional exploration, cultural intersections, and resource extraction; field trips to prepare and film; and script writing and review. And there were a lot of logistics to plan, 120 students filming in every building and feature of Fort Vancouver, behind all the museum barriers and ropes! We had not attempted something like this before. Everything went smoothly… we were a great team… rangers, curators, archaeologists, volunteers, teachers, students, parents.

         We want Fort Vancouver to be meaningful to every generation that comes along. And we want every visitor to find something here that is relevant to their life today. Expanding the scope of what we offer is important, especially including features like this virtual tour that make this park accessible to audiences across the globe. But this is an important project for another reason: although we introduced the students to Fort Vancouver, they were able to pursue the objects and topics which most interested them. Self-directed, guided education means students are motivated and engaged in the process and we see the site through fresh eyes. These students will soon be defining the future… their own futures and our future together. And we truly believe that studying the past helps define a good future for us all. 

iTech HiPstory Teacher

         I knew when this project has began that it was extremely ambitious, and that my colleague David Midkiff and I would have a lot on our plates.  The goals were to introduce students to thinking archaeologically, get them involved with researching our city's local history, have learn some new technologies, and to create an educational product that can inform the community, and the world, about our wonderful city.  

        There were a few bumps in the road along the way, but the students, Mr. Midkiff, and I knew that this would occur.  We planned ahead, and as usual our students rose to the occasion.  I have been very impressed with the the work that they have done.  Every student has had an opportunity of share their work and have it be a part of this final tour.  As I look back how the students have grown it is easy to see that many students enhanced their communication and teamwork skills throughout the project.  There have also been new students taking on leadership roles and really stepping up to the plate.   They have also grown as writers, researchers, and speakers.  Lastly, they have taken on new technologies and learned that they can produce something of value to the world that will live on outside of our school's walls.

        Utilizing the technology of the Ricoh Theta S and Holobuilder enables our students to experience new technologies and be virtual reality creators.  These technological skills are transferable to many other subjects, areas, and hopefully to their future lives. For more about #FVvr please check out my blog to see my thoughts throughout the project.