The inspiration of Glacier National Park has no boundaries. It serves as a classroom both locally and around the world. This program acts as a pre-visit online classroom for students who have an upcoming park visit, and also offers ranger-led distance-learning to connect live with classrooms. Up to 750 students will be reached in the first year of this program.
Studies have demonstrated that pre-visit lessons improve student behavior and learning on field trips. Rangers are not always available to travel to schools to help teach the curriculum, and not all teachers have the knowledge and time to prepare lessons in advance of the field trips. Distance learning provides an opportunity for rangers and staff to talk face-to-face with teachers before the trip. It also engages the students on what to expect, what they will learn and how they can be prepared for their field trips.
Furthermore, there is national and even international demand from teachers to be able to have their students communicate “virtually” with rangers and staff. This would provide a Glacier education to students around the world who are unable to come to the park itself and connect with the living laboratory that is Glacier National Park. The funds from this grant will be used to finish outfitting the distance-learning studio, fund the staffing and training for the distance-learning curriculum, as well as a high-speed Internet connection to allow the park to connect with schools using Skype.