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Interdisciplinary NSF CyberLearning Exploratory Grant

Nov. 1, 2015 – Through an interdisciplinary NSF CyberLearning Exploratory Grant, History and Social Science Education faculty (David Hicks) and graduate students alongside colleagues in TLOS, the Department of History, and Computer Science have worked closely with Montgomery County Public Schools, the Christiansburg Institute Alumni Association and the nonprofit Christiansburg Institute Inc. to develop a mobile augmented reality app called CI Spy to support young students as they conduct a place based/local history investigation of Christiansburg Institute (CI), a formerly segregated school. Uniquely, this work is one of the only projects focusing on the discipline of history within this predominantly STEM-focused grant program.The goal of the grant is to construct a local history curriculum (designed to serve as a portal to study race relations at the national level) that uses Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality to teach fifth graders in Montgomery County Public Schools about what life was like for African American children in a segregated school in Virginia. CI Spy provides visitors to the CI campus with views of extant campus buildings, as they existed at various times in the past, with embedded historical sources to help investigate student life in the 1950s and 60s. So far 14 classes of fifth grade students from Montgomery County Public Schools have taken on the role of junior history detectives to explore this local hidden history. The news article is on both Roanoke Times and WSLS