The Indianapolis Star reports that Brooks School Elementary teacher Mark Heiden took his students along on his summer trip to Germany–with a little help from the internet. Heiden posted photos and stories each day on his travel blog, along with questions to make the student-teacher relationship interactive. He did the same on past trips to Australia, China, and Japan, and has become known for his instructive travel blogging. "I want the students to understand the world is a huge and diverse place, and know there’s a lot out there to see and experience," said the third-grade gifted-and-talented teacher. Heiden, 29, visited Germany through the Transatlantic Outreach Program, which funds trips to Germany for social studies teachers. The program paid all of his expenses for the two-week trip, which included stops in Berlin, Hanover, Frankfurt, Potsdam, and Wolfsburg. Tim Harshbarger, principal at Brooks School Elementary, said Heiden’s experiences let him bring the sights, sounds, and smells of places to the classroom. "Kids grab onto that," Harshbarger said. "His kids find [the blog] fascinating. … It’s that connection, it’s the ability for the kids to experience things through a medium that they know really well."

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