My Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship Journey

I was recently asked to deliver a presentation to my School Board about my Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship experience aboard the National Geographic Quest.

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 8.49.15 PM

I figured I’d share my presentation in case others might be interested in knowing how a grade 5/6 teacher from Thunder Bay, Ontario managed to travel with Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic from Seattle, Washington to Sitka, Alaska via the Inside Passage for a two week trip of a lifetime!

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 8.49.31 PM

My love of the outdoors and quest for adventure was instilled in me at a very young age exploring nature’s wonders in and around Thunder Bay.  

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 8.50.57 PM

As I grew older, travel allowed me to explore the world with my wife and eventually our son. I believe it’s through adventure that I learned some of my life’s greatest lessons and I was able to pass on those lessons to my own son. 

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 8.52.12 PM

During the first half of my career, with the limited resources I had available to me, I tried to bring a sense of adventure to my students. I wanted to get them excited about coming to school every day to learn and explore.

Before being connected was really even “a thing”, I strove to establish a connected classroom. I taught my students the importance of knowing themselves and connecting with their peers, their family, our community, the environment and, with God.

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 9.05.44 PM

At almost exactly the halfway point of my career (about 10 years ago), technology allowed me to connect my students to the world in ways I never dreamed possible.  Every new school day would bring seemingly endless opportunities for exploration and adventure.

Being connected allowed my students to initiate many collaborative projects such as The Give 4 Christmas Challenge, The MAD Project and K Cups 4 Classrooms.  

Being connected allowed us to learn about local Anishinaabe Water Walker Nokomis Josephine Mandamin and invite her to our classroom. 

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 8.53.07 PM

It’s what allowed us to start the Junior Water Walkers movement, a quest to follow in her footsteps.

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 8.53.23 PM

This led Google Earth to send a documentary team from their headquarters to Thunder Bay and St.Elizabeth school to capture the journey.

My work as a connected educator led National Geographic to feature me as Spotlight Educator.

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 8.53.53 PM

And this connection led me to the National Geographic Educator program and an incredible community of like minded educators.

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 8.54.04 PM

And shortly after I became their Canadian ambassador for National Geographic Education and a mentor for others taking the certification. Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 8.54.14 PM

My connection with National Geographic created opportunities for me to travel to Google in Chicago, Seattle and Mountainview to work with Google Earth Outreach to develop content using Google Earth as a learning platform.  I am a Google Earth Education Expert and a Trusted Tester.

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 8.54.31 PM

I was encouraged to apply for the Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship; an opportunity for teachers to travel with Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic to bring their experience and learning back to kids.

In February of last year I found out I was accepted and a whirlwind of learning and adventure ensued.  

First, the 45 Teacher Fellows met at National Geographic in Washington in April where we received a week of intensive training

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 8.54.57 PM

from National Geographic’s best photographers, videographers, naturalists, scientists writers and story tellers.

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 8.55.07 PM

And, as I always do when I travel, I had my students help prepare for my trip and stayed connected with them while I was away.Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 8.55.17 PM

My expedition to Alaska was one of the longest ones offered and the itinerary was incredibly expansive. So I called on my students for help. They became my travel guides, with 14 pairs of students becoming experts on the different places I’d be travelling.

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 8.55.28 PM

My students built a Google Tour and as they informed one another and myself about where I’d be travelling the excitement mounted.

Screen Shot 2019-10-10 at 12.42.53 PM

Although I couldn’t take my students (or my son or wife, Cheryl) with me, I was determined to help them experience my adventure as close to the real thing as possible. So they all travelled virtually with me via a variety of digital tools on my “Passage to Sitka”,  and most of their learning for the next two weeks revolved around my expedition.  

Screen Shot 2019-10-10 at 12.48.21 PM

Although my expedition to Alaska has come to an end, my Fellowship still continues. It’s my responsibility to continue to share my experiences. I want kids to understand that nothing is out of their reach and opportunities to explore are all around them.

My “GO! Explore” initiative is a global project aimed at having students from around the world explore their own local natural environments and share their favourite places with one another. The official webpage is coming soon!

 

About mrcameron14

I am a Grade 6 teacher of 18 years in Thunder Bay Ontario, Canada. Passionate about sharing with teachers throughout the world. Teaching students how to use technology 4 good and to make a positive difference in the world. Apple Distinguished Educator 2013, SMART Exemplary Educator 2013, Google Educator 2015.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s