GETTYSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Though there aren’t any school field trips in person right now, one midstate educator is taking students and teachers on a virtual tour of the Gettysburg battlefields.
Nothing beats actually standing where history happened, but during this pandemic, a free virtual tour of the battlefield will have to do.
“Gen. Iverson’s troops would have marched in this direction, coming down here and the Union forces right around this line right here,” said Dr. Jim Beeghley, pointing to a ridge in the distance over Google Hangout.
Beeghley is the director of technology at Bishop McDevitt High School in Lower Paxton Township.
“The Battle of Gettysburg is central to the American Civil War and through my research, I’ve learned that typically, teachers cover the topic of the Civil War during the spring,” Beeghley said.
While he says he’s not an expert on the Civil War, he’s been teaching people around the country for years.
“Because of tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts, I’m able to offer it to hundreds of classrooms simultaneously now, rather than just one on one,” Beeghley said.
He’s also able to show the battlefield and talk about the three days of war.
“The kids will be looking at an 1863 picture of Lee’s headquarters while I’m standing here talking about the events that happened,” Beeghley said.
Beeghley’s doctoral research focused on how teachers use technology to teach the Civil War.
“For the teachers in the room, I like to tell them, well let’s just imagine, look on a map, how far is that to walk? How long would it take you to walk 26 miles?” he said.
His daughter Sarah Beeghley helped him out today.
“Going to be a teacher, this is something that helps me prepare for virtual learning if I have to come do that in the fall after I get certified,” said Sarah Beeghley.
It’s a look into the past through the modern lens of technology.
“We can get kids to be interested in it by telling stories of things that happened here and relate it to again, through primary source documents,” Jim Beeghley said. It’s really a great way for kids to learn an overview of the battle.”