ASHWAUBENON - Brown County's Neville Public Museum in Green Bay has been celebrating history for 99 years.
And now, a high-tech experiment is helping students experience the exhibits without ever leaving their own classrooms.
After a quick sound check,
“We can hear you, we're ready to go. We're all here. Excellent.”
The virtual field trip at Pioneer Elementary in Ashwaubenon was underway.
“It's an opportunity to take resources in the community like the Neville Museum, and bring them into the classroom,” said Mat Anderson, instruction technology coordinator with the Ashwaubenon School District.
Wednesday's 4th grade lesson was Wisconsin history.
“Why do you think this object matches object A?” asked Jamie Averbeck, technology integration specialist with the Ashwaubenon School District.
Averbeck communicated through computerized glasses from the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay.
“When you wear it, you actually look through it, and don't see it. But when you really focus on the near, it's like a 50 inch plasma television right in front of you,” said Averbeck.
Ashwaubenon is part of an industry test program for Google Glass. The $1,500 headgear is similar to Skype, transporting history from another time.
“These artifacts that they were able to see and interact with, aren't things that are going to come to life in their text books,” said Averbeck.
So what do the students think?
“It was really neat, so, we could talk back and forth in case we didn't know something,” said Sam Hurley, fourth grade student.
“I think it was really cool, because then other people, when they can't go places with people, then they can see what's happening,” said Yasmyn Collins, fourth grade student.
Could this new technology mean an end to the traditional field trip? Those at the Neville Museum say that's not likely.
“There's something to be said for coming to the museum, and being able to experience that enormous mastodon we have up there. That's something that you can't replicate in a classroom,” said Kirsten Smith, Neville Public Museum educator.
The virtual trip ended with each student getting a free pass to the museum.
The Ashwaubenon School District says staff will use the glasses to evaluate teaching techniques, as well as recording other events to be used in its classrooms.