Opportunities to Engage
VFs have many benets or studentso all ages. First, the medium itsel enchants and engages. o be able to view, hear, and interact with peoplewho are ar away is powerul, espe-cially i those people are articulate andexperts on the topic the students arestudying.Second, there is no better way, shorto traveling long distances with yourstudents, to share the wonders o theworld while connecting them to theirstudies. When studying coral rees, visit the Great Barrier Ree. Whenteaching averages, visit the BaseballHall o Fame. When covering the Me-sozoic period, plan a VF to the Royalyrrell Museum o Palaeontology. Butdon’t eel limited to content providersin obvious subject areas. For example,your class can study simple machinesby tapping into the Cleveland Mu-seum o Art’s collection o armor andcrossbows via interactive VF.Janet Adams, a technology and cur-riculum specialist or Kings County Schools in Caliornia, states that sincetheir schools have started participatingin interactive VFs, she has seen a loto changes in teaching and learning.“Virtual eld trips empower teach-ers, librarians, administrators, and Ista to create signicant opportunitiesor their school to ocus on a worldbeyond the chain link ence,” she says.“And I have witnessed over and overstudents asking questions o museumcurators, wildlie naturalists, NASAinstructors, historians, and peerslocated beyond our state borders.”VFs do remove the barriersbetween your classroom and thosear-away people and resources. Itmay seem a little strange at rst tobe talking to a V, but once studentsget engaged in lively discussion withthose on the ar end, the technology becomes invisible, and the classroomwalls disappear.
Te rst thing you should do is check around your school system to locate a videoconerencing unit. Your districttechnology coordinator should be ableto help. I you nd a system, makesure to ask i it is h.323 compatibleand capable o IP-based connections.I you strike out there, contactsome videoconerencing equipment vendors and ask i they can do inter-active VF demos or your school.Don’t orget to nd out i they oergrants and assistance programs. Some videoconerencing equipment compa-nies such as Polycom and andberg,or instance, match schools to po-tential unding sources and providegrant-writing assistance.Once the equipment is in place, you’llneed access to quality content. Tebest place to start is at the Center orInteractive Learning and Collaboration
Award-Winning VFT Content Providers
The Center or Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC) asks teachers to evaluateinteractive virtual feld trip content providers each year to determine the CILC Pinnacle Award Winners. The 2008–09 winners are:
Adventures in Medicine & Science(AIMS) Program o Saint Louis University |
Center or Puppetry Arts |
Cleveland Institute o Music |
Cleveland Museum o Natural History |
George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate |
Hank Fincken: A National Theatre Company o One |
HealthSpace (now part o Cleveland Museum o Natural History)
Learning & Leading with Technology | March/April 2010
To be able to view, hear, andinteract with people who are ar awayis
powerul, especially i those people are articulate and experts on thetopic the students are studying.
Copyright © 2010, ISTE (International Society or Technology in Education), 1.800.336.5191 (U.S. & Canada) or 1.541.302.3777 (Int’l), firstname.lastname@example.org, www.iste.org. All rights reserved.