Thanks to my Legacy Grant, TradeRoutes is redefining the K–12 classroom environment by bringing textbook lessons to life for students.
My friends Ryan Dontas '16, Nathan Schwan '16, and I started TradeRoutes in our junior year with a simple vision: to make classroom learning more immersive and fun for all students. We developed academic presentation software for K–12 classrooms that enables teachers to take students on virtual field trips and walking tours. When our senior year arrived, we had built out a working prototype and were ready to make connections with local teachers. Our Legacy Grant gave us the opportunity to purchase the technology needed to test our tool in a classroom and, most importantly, to make an impact on young students.
We began by leveraging BC's relationship with the St. Columbkille Partnership School in Brighton. Our Lynch School contacts connected us with a 7th grade social studies teacher who was eager to try TradeRoutes. In our first visit to her class, we demonstrated our newly-built virtual reality prototype that simulated 360 degree views of life-like landscapes. She was thrilled! She challenged us to optimize the tool to teach her students about the historic stops along Boston's Freedom Trail. For the next few weeks, our team of seven BC students designed and developed a personalized virtual Freedom Trail lesson for the class. We polished our software, reviewed it with Lynch School faculty and advisors, and delivered it to St. Columbkille in advance of the classroom's actual field trip.
At its core, Legacy Grants challenge students to fulfill the BC mission of learning how to be "men and women for others." And that's what made this grant so meaningful for my teammates and me. Looking back at our project, it really does feel like we left behind a promising legacy that will touch lives into the future.
—Ryan Lee '16