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MTS Minnesota Connections Academy Students Participate in Unique Field Trips Combining History and Media Arts

--Virtual School Students Use iPads to Create Movies About Historical Locations Through a Series of Field Trips--

ST. PAUL, MN (April 24, 2012) – MTS Minnesota Connections Academy students throughout Minnesota came together this school year to participate in some field trips with a twist.

“Reeling Through History: Enhancing Community and Reading Achievement,” was a unique field trip that combined history and media arts by having participating students create a movie about the historic location they visited. Field trips and community activities offer students the opportunity to come together, support the lessons presented in the students' daily course work, and socialize with other Connections Academy students and family members.

The idea for “Reeling Through History” was co-created by Andrea Cacek, a Duluth, Minn.-based Connections Academy Art and Photography teacher whose innovative idea provided students with a fun opportunity to learn about social studies and digital media while interacting, problem solving and creating with their peers. Cacek has been teaching art and photography for almost 10 years. Having worked in a traditional brick-and-mortar setting prior to her current virtual public school position, Cacek finds the experience to be fascinating as she works with students to investigate to the tools and techniques, meanings, and student perspectives in the Visual Arts.

About The Field Trips

During the “Reeling Through History” field trips, Connections Academy students worked in small groups to create a movie about their adventure location using iMovie software on an Apple iPad 2, purchased through an ING grant submitted by Cacek. At the Duluth Depot, a bustling hub of activity for much of the 20th century, students started their project after watching a museum film where they learned how in 1910, seven railroads dispatched over 50 trains a day from Duluth. In Pine City, Minn., at the North West Company Fur Post, students stepped into the recreated world of 1804 to see everyday life in the fur trade. Students learned how the fur trade business worked and met some principle characters.

To make their movies, students determined their roles and responsibilities, took notes during their tours, captured video and photos, recorded commentary, created storyboards, and edited their pieces to create a “mini documentary” about their historical site. Not only did students gain knowledge about their location, but were also able to apply what they learned to complete a media project.

Cacek created a blog for participating students to learn about the “Reeling Through History” project.
MTS Minnesota Connections Academy combines state-certified teachers, high-quality curriculum, unique technology tools, and an extensive selection of electives, clubs and community experiences to create an individualized alternative to the brick-and-mortar classroom. The program is designed to meet the needs of students and their families who are looking for a unique public school option-those who need a flexible schedule, learn at a different pace from their peers, need more individualized attention or live in isolated rural settings.

With its faculty headquartered in St. Paul, Minn., Connections Academy operates its full-time Internet school program in Minnesota through a partnership with Minnesota Transitions Charter School. Families interested in learning at home with the support of state-certified teachers and the accountability of public education can learn more by calling 800-382-6010 or visiting

About Connections Academy

Connections Academy is a leading, fully accredited provider of high-quality, highly accountable virtual schooling for students in grades K through 12. Through tuition-free public schools, and full-time and part-time private school programs, Connections Academy delivers superior, personalized education for students, with the freedom and flexibility to experience our online learning community from anywhere. The combination of certified teachers, a proven curriculum, technology tools, and community experiences creates a supportive and successful online learning opportunity for families and children who want an individualized approach to education. In the 2011–12 school year, Connections Academy serves students in 21 states via 22 virtual public schools. It serves students worldwide through the online private school, National Connections Academy. Connections Academy offers grades K through 12, though some public school programs do not offer all grades. For more information, call 800–382–6010 or visit Connections Academy and its parent company, Connections Education, are part of the global learning company Pearson (NYSE:PSO)