Videoconference tours bring Angel Island Immigration Station to California classrooms

courtesy Angel Island Immigration Station FoundationState park interpreter Casey Dexter-Lee will take students on the Angel Island Immigration Station virtual tours.

Beginning next month, students in California will be able to tour the Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco Bay without ever having to leave their classrooms.

Using interactive videoconferencing, a state park interpreter will take students on a tour of the U.S. Immigration Station barracks where they will learn about the immigration process and see what life was like for immigrants, said Lisa Van Cleef, programs director for the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation.

The immigration unit is a segment of the California State Parks program “Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students,” which offers other virtual, state-themed topics of study including the Gold Rush, desert and elephant seals.

The lesson is designed to coincide with recent immigration themes in the U.S. — where thousands of Central American refugees are fleeing to escape violence — and meets the state Common Core State Standards for 11th grade, though it can be adapted to other grades.

“The students [will] learn about the history of the U.S. Immigration Station at Angel Island, and through that lens discuss current contemporary immigration issues,” Van Cleef said.

<p>Up to five classes a day will take the 50-minute tours. The goal is to reach approximately 6,000 students throughout California by the end of the 2014-15 school year.

The Angel Island Immigration Station operated from 1910 to 1940. More than a million people from 82 countries were processed through Angel Island before it was closed.

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