WPCSD teachers receive MPE grants

Staff Writer

West Point Consolidated School District teachers Bruce Mize and Sylvia Jinkerson were the recipients of classroom grants from the Mississippi Professional Educators.

Bruce Mize, a ninth through 11th grade history teacher at West Point High School, said he plans to use his grant funding for a project entitled “Google Expeditions” that will incorporate Google software and virtual reality headsets to allow students to explore historical events around the world.

"With the grant I will try to bring virtual reality into the classroom," Mize said. "The idea is to use VR goggles and unactivated prepaid cell phones as a Wi-Fi device. With Google Expedition, I can take my class all over the world without ever leaving the classroom."

He said each device would be connected to his tablet via Wi-Fi and the students would all be at at a "virtual" historical monument such as the Roman Pantheon.

He said students can be looking in different directions at the same place. Mize said he can have them all look at the same object of interest by directing them with his tablet.

"No one has attempted to bring virtual reality into the classroom for under $1,000," Mize said. "Many large school districts have already implemented this type of educational tool in the classroom. I hope it will show this can be done cost effectively in small districts as well."

Mize said his ultimate goal is to have a 3D scanner and printer in his classroom. With all these tools in the classroom, field trips and show and tell will have a whole new meaning according to Mize.

Mize is a resident of Columbus and has been a member of MPE since 2000.

Sylvia Jinkerson, a first grade teacher at Church Hill Elementary, also recently received a classroom grant from MPE.

Jinkerson said she plans to use her grant funding for a project entitled “Reading Cafe” that will build family and school connections and promote reading skills.

Jinkerson is a resident of Starkville and has been a MPE member since 2001.

Founded in 1979, MPE is a statewide professional association with approximately 14,000 teachers, administrators and non-certified staff from kindergarten to graduate school level.

MPE’s top priority is the education and achievement of students. MPE awards up to $40,000 in classroom grants to MPE members who wish to enhance instructional offerings or educational experiences for their students. For more information on MPE’s classroom grant program and other benefits, visit www.mpe.org