IBM and Local Teachers Help Bring
El Camino Real to the Classroom!

by Katia Chaterji
January 23, 2014
The CyArk office was bustling this week in preparation for an in-house educational workshop, thanks to the generous support of IBM. Since 2012, IBM has supported the growth of CyArk’s educational content through the integration of our current lesson plans into IBM’s Teachers TryScience platform, a free resource for teachers designed to augment science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Last summer, IBM took a step further and supported CyArk’s initiative to create new educational material for our El Camino Real de California Digital Preservation Project, a theme of projects devoted to the 21 missions, 4 presidios, and 3 pueblos that span 600 miles of the California coast.

It was CyArk’s pleasure to welcome four teaching professionals to contribute their diverse experiences and specializations to our workshop: Dr. Joe Immel, Science and Engineering Teacher at Technology High School; Mr. Matt Zwinge, History Teacher at Technology High School; Ms. Casey Welch, Middle School Teacher at Crescent Montessori School; and Mrs. Janet Chaterji, Consultant/Outreach Director at Crescent Montessori School. With backgrounds in technology, history, debate, project based learning, and foreign languages, the workshop resulted in an inspiring collaboration of the minds. The immediate product of our workshop include 3 engaging lesson plans, not to mention several other lesson ideas. These lesson plans will be refined over the next month, and will soon be available in both English and Spanish on CyArk's website as well as IBM's Teachers TryScience website.

Both Technology High School and Crescent Montessori School are located within Sonoma County, making CyArk’s El Camino Real de California Digital Preservation Project relevant to their classrooms. Not only is Misión Sonoma close to home, but this mission was digitally documented in August 2013, and it is the most recent site to be added to our El Camino Real theme. CyArk’s Technology Centers program aspires to keep local students involved as additional sites within the context of Misión Sonoma are documented.

While the lesson plans created during our workshop will greatly enliven California classrooms (after all, 450,000 4th graders in California study El Camino Real de California each year), the availability of these lesson plans and CyArk’s 3D digital archive provide students across the USA and the world with the ability to learn about the growth of the American West Coast, from Spanish colonization to the establishment of modern day California’s largest cities. The result is a tool that is invaluable to cross-cultural exchange and understanding, enabling students and teachers to share in the world’s heritage.

CyArk wishes to thank our participants from Technology High School and Crescent Montessori School for making our workshop a great success! Stay tuned to find out when these lesson plans go live on CyArk’s and IBM’s Teachers TryScience websites!
Workshop Participants (L to R): Joe Immel, Casey Welch, Katia Chaterji, Janet Chaterji, Matt Zwinge
Lesson planning in action
CyArk's El Camino Real de California theme