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Andrews University Faculty and Students Lead School Children on "Virtual Tour" to South America

Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA … [ANN] Thanks to digital cameras, on-site technology and support personnel at the tour home base, students from more than 40 schools across the U.S. will travel along to South America on a “virtual tour.”

Exotic adventure is just around the corner for 20 students, faculty and alumni from Andrews University, a Seventh-day Adventist educational institution located in Berrien Springs, Michigan.  From December 3 to 20 they will be part of the “Intel-ebration Expedition,” a cross-discipline study tour to the South American country of Ecuador where they will make cultural explorations and scenic excursions into the Andes Mountains, swim with seals in the Galapagos Islands, and paddle a dug-out canoe to a biology station set deep in the jungles of Ecuador’s Amazon Basin.

Expedition team members are coordinating a web site that will track the group through Ecuador, post photos of each day’s activities, record events in journals, and provide links to further details about the region. School children will log on to the website every day to interact with travelers in Ecuador, sending e-mail messages back and forth, and viewing the day’s photo shoots.

Andrews School of Education faculty Larry Burton and Sharon Prest are “Intel-ebration” coordinators. In 1996, the pair coordinated a similar expedition to Africa where photo students shared their Kenyan safari with schools.

“Children love the World Wide Web and they love animals,” said Prest. “To combine them, basically means a ‘can’t miss’ curriculum.”

The “Intel-ebration Expedition” program consists of three components: curriculum, human interaction and service learning. The program, which will be delivered to schools at no cost, currently serves public and private school teachers in Berrien County and across the United States.

The tour is coordinated by Donald May, assistant professor in the photo program at Andrews. He and Marc Ullom, photo instructor, are offering photo students academic credit. Tom Goodwin, biology professor and trip naturalist, will give presentations on the distinctive species of the Galapagos.

Twelve Andrews students are participating in the tour. They will get the unique opportunity to share their travels with school children across the nation thanks to the web-based curriculum delivery system, sponsored by Andrews University.

It used to be that only eco-travelers and National Geographic photographers could enjoy South American exploits. Now the Web and “Intel-ebration Expedition” are bringing the experience into the classroom. Interested schools can call (616) 471-6674 or visit the “Intel-ebration Expedition” web site: [Rebecca May]