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April 2005
HoverWorld Insider

Learning Takes Flight: The DiscoverHover International School Hovercraft Program

In 450 BC, Confucius said, Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand.

Since the World Hovercraft Organization's DiscoverHover program was launched in late 2003, thousands of students across the world have been awarded an educational experience that transcends mere telling and showing. With the DiscoverHover program, they are now actively and eagerly involved in their own education.

The DiscoverHover web site provides hovercraft plans and instructions, Curriculum Guides and comprehensive resources at no charge to schools and universities, youth organizations, instructors, and students age 7 to 21 anywhere in the world.

The value of the DiscoverHover program is best exemplified in the praise it receives from participating instructors and students:

Wantirna College hovercraft picture
Wantirna College DiscoverHover One hovercraft
Wantirna College in Victoria, Australia was the first Australian School to build the DiscoverHover One hovercraft. Secondary instructor Robert Forbes says the project was so successful that the school is, "beginning construction on our second hovercraft using the DiscoverHover One plans – because they work!" He continues, "The project has been a great experience, with very positive feedback from parents, students and staff. One long-serving staff member says this is the best project he has seen at the school in his 22 years. And the 14 students in the Technology Club have seen their ranks swell to more than 40 students." Tom Burridge, year 11 student at Wantirna College and Team Leader for the school's second hovercraft, echoes this enthusiasm: "This experience has been very valuable to my education. To be honest, school hadn't really interested me until the start of year 10, but building the DiscoverHover One gave my interest for school a real boost. The DiscoverHover project has been by far the highlight of my time at secondary school. I have never had so much fun!"

In Ellicott City, Maryland USA, Technology Education instructor Robert Hodge and his 6th, 7th and 8th grade students at Ellicott Mills Middle School are building their first DiscoverHover One. Hodge writes, "I've been teaching for 30 years and I cannot remember this level of excitement in any other project I've done with students. It brings to life the math and science they're learning in their other classes, and it excites them about education."

Cary Grove High School hover craft photo
Cary-Grove High School hovercraft project
Mike Naughton, Industrial Technology Department Chair at Cary-Grove High School in Cary, Illinois USA reports, "One of the most valuable aspects of the project is the excitement of the students. Our enrollment went up this year, and I think this has played a part in that." His student, Jake Rands, a junior at Cary-Grove, says, "It's the most fun I've ever had in school!"

Naughton's former student Ryan Marsel, now in his first year at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida USA, reflects, "Building the hovercraft last year at Cary-Grove was an unforgettable experience. It gave me opportunities that many students couldn't dream of, and helped me to enroll in the number one Aerospace Engineering school in the world."

Armstrong Atlantic State University hovercraft picture
Armstrong Atlantic State University hovercraft team
Dr. Cameron Coates, Assistant Professor of Engineering Studies at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia USA believes the most valuable aspect of the program is that it gives students, "experience with the practical aspects … money, budgeting, choosing the right component – the things you don't get in school."

Such enthusiasm is contagious. It breathes new life into the World Hovercraft Organization's commitment to give schools and student organizations worldwide the profound educational adventure of building a hovercraft, learning to fly it, and racing it in worldwide competitions.

With the DiscoverHover program, however, what you now see is not all you get! Our commitment includes an expansion of the following areas in the days ahead:


* International DiscoverHover events
Plans are underway to give students the opportunity to showcase their hovercraft at national and international competitive events. US cities who are interested in hosting events (in addition to Terre Haute, Indiana, the home of the World Hovercraft Organization) are Orlando, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada. Globally, we are in discussions with several nations, including Thailand, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates, all of whom are eager to bring hovercraft endurance racing events to their countries.

* Sponsorship funds
Shipping hovercraft overseas is quite expensive and would prohibit most schools from participating in international events. To help diminish this obstacle, DiscoverHover has launched an extensive sponsorship effort which, when complete, will offset a significant portion of this expense for member schools.

* New communication channels for members
The most valuable source of advice for schools building the DiscoverHover One hovercraft comes from other member schools, so we are developing new channels for DiscoverHover participants to interact with one another. Currently, the ideal place for member interaction is the DiscoverHover Forum, where posts will open a discussion with the entire worldwide DiscoverHover membership as well as with program officials.

* Additional DiscoverHover web site materials
Watch for new Curriculum Guides, a vastly expanded Vocabulary List, and more, beginning in June 2005.

While you await our announcements about these additions to the program, we encourage you to check out the following recent additions to the web site:


Featured Schools
As more and more schools join DiscoverHover, we will profile their projects in detail, complete with photo galleries, in the Featured Schools section of the web site. This is the perfect place for new member schools to learn how other schools have succeeded with, and benefited from, the DiscoverHover program.

Comments from Students
Perhaps the most revealing indication of the impact of DiscoverHover is the reaction of students. When DiscoverHover began receiving comments from its students, Chris Fitzgerald, Chairman of the World Hovercraft Organization, exclaimed, "These students are just like me! I had no time for school – my mind was too full of building airships, tunnels, pyramids, rockets … It was only when school began to show me how I could achieve these quests that I started to learn. We have founded a truly great educational tool."

Comments from Educators
This section is an informative resource not only for instructors currently involved in DiscoverHover projects, but also for those who are considering the program for their schools.

The Hovercraft Engine
Complete DiscoverHover One engine specifications have now been added to the web site, along with contact information for suppliers and helpful hints for obtaining the engine(s) as a donation.

As the DiscoverHover International School Hovercraft Program continues to mature, we invite you to partner with the World Hovercraft Organization in developing this truly unique educational opportunity:


If you are a DiscoverHover member and would like to be considered as a Featured School, please email PR@WorldHovercraft.org for application instructions. Submission of your materials can become a class project as you write about your experiences building a hovercraft. Be sure to take photos as you build your craft!

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of DiscoverHover events, or if you would like to contribute materials or donations to member schools, please email Office@WorldHovercraft.org

If you are an educator and would like to provide curricula or other material for the DiscoverHover web site, please email Office@WorldHovercraft.org

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