Guest Post: Kim McCorkle, BMS

Travel Bugs and “Geoconferencing”
Presented by: Amanda and Jeff Peterson, Lamar ISD

After a head spinning 2 days at the TCEA Conference in Austin, I was left facing the task of choosing something from the myriad of topics I attended to share with everyone back home. I attended many sessions with many ideas on apps, iPads, math, digital citizenship, but one was a little different. 


Geocaching has become a popular past time with many over recent years. If you are not familiar with geocaching here is a quick summary. Containers are “planted” by just about anyone and recorded in a database accessible by websites. Geocachers look up caches, set the coordinates in their GPS units and head out in search of the cache. The coordinates will get you close, but then you have to look, often quite long and hard to find a container that ranges from a film canister to an ammunition box (sometimes larger and amazingly, sometimes smaller). Usually these canisters contain a log to sign, allowing the geocacher to leave evidence of a successful search. Occasionally a geocacher might find a hitchhiker - a Travel Bug.

No, not these....  

These! 

Travel Bugs are tags like dog tags. They are imprinted with instructions on how to report their whereabouts online where the owners can track their travels.

The Petersons have been planting bugs for their classes with notes attached to try to get them to a specific cache where another travel bug started its journey planted by another school. Prior to planting the bug the Petersons arrange with a school across the state to plant one of their own. Their students track their bug online and research the history of each location it ends up. This allows their students to learn about Texas Geography and history as the travel bugs tries to make its way home! There are so many possible applications for use in science, math and even language arts.

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