i came, i saw, ipod

By Carol Bousquet

KENNEBUNKPORT, ME, May 6, 2009- Vacations are often adventures we take with our faces buried in a map. Now Kennebunk Middle School students will just about take visitors by the hand as they explore the area. On Thursday May 7 the Nonantum Resort will unveil its student designed Green Rooms complete with podcasts touting the area’s best finds ready to download onto your iPod. Check in and minutes later you’re ready to check out the region, with audio-video guides from the students in hand.

“I came, I saw, iPod” is high tech tourism developed by 8th grade students and art teacher Mary McCarthy. Students wrote podcasts about locals’ favorite landmarks, beaches, restaurants and family fun. There are podcasts about strolling down Ocean Avenue and shopping in Dock Square, and even one about what 10-14 year olds like to do best here.

“Ocean Avenue is one of the most beautiful roads in Kennebunkport,” comment Sara and Ella. “If you take a right outside the Nonantum the Colony Beach is a nice quiet place to relax. There are rocks to jump off and boats to watch, so bring the family.”

Fifteen students traveled to the Apple Classroom at the Apple Store in the Maine Mall in April to be trained on how to produce their podcasts. Eight iPods were purchased through a grant from the Education Foundation of the Kennebunks, a non-profit group that supports innovative programs to “ignite the spark” in students’ minds, inspiring critical thinking, communication and teamwork.

“This age group adapts so well and so fast to technology,” says McCarthy, “In their real lives they use technology. Let’s show them how to use it for educational reasons, to make doing work more interactive and fun.”

Also unveiled Thursday will be three newly designed Green Rooms at the resort, all decorated by the students with eco-friendly products. Mary McCarthy and Claudia Dalton are in their 3rd year partnering with Tina Hewitt Gordon at the Nonantum to redesign Green Hotel rooms as part of an interior design unit. Fifty-two students participated in the Growing up Green and iPod project.