Throughout its 106-year history, the University of Florida’s (UF) intercollegiate sports teams, commonly referred to as “Florida Gators,” have won 27 national team championships and Gator athletes have won 241 individual national championships.
According to an article in the Gainesville Times, UF is now extending its good fortune to a small group of Oakwood Elementary School students located 375 miles away from the university’s campus. Through video conferencing, the lucky group of students gets to spend around 30 minutes each week with its athlete mentors, including Gray Horn (track and field), Jeff Demps (track and field/football) and Tahnai Annis (soccer).
As part of C.A.M.P. Gator, a mentoring program that pairs athletes and non-athlete students with elementary and middle school students throughout the region via video conferencing, Oakwood students are experiencing a once in a lifetime opportunity to speak with their role models.
In the same article Dalton Smith, a fifth-grader at Oakwood, says “It just feels like such an honor just to talk to these athletes.”
It’s so exciting as s chools are becoming more eager to adopt collaborative technologies like telepresence to enable next generation learning. Over the years, I’ve been involved with numerous virtual fieldtrips and seen how chools are using video to travel around the world and learn about different cultures and places, like the Great Barrier Reef, and I love to see more schools taking advantage of the opportunities.
Have you ever participated in a virtual fieldtrip? It only takes one time seeing the students interact to become a believer.