Virtual field trips, aka "outsourcing" or hiring another class (or group of students) to take a field trip to learn about particular content, and reporting back their learning and the learning your class requested from them: this concept is heavily on my mind. Students could photo, video, blog, wiki, or otherwise archive the experience so that literally anyone from across the world could have access to that exact same field trip! Talk about an engaging and memorable experience for all involved? EXCITING!

An entire database could be created of possible fieldtrips, where one could just go shopping for information, or could find a class nearby a particular location and "hire" them to find answers to questions. The idea is that the "hired" class would then be able to ask for an in-kind return on their information. Participating teachers/classes could agree to offer as many possible local field trips, but would be obligated to only hosting 2 each school year. Or perhaps a school could participate in as many as they wanted...?

I LOVE this idea, and see all the potential benefits both with learning content, technology tools, collaboration, social skills, recording/reporting accurately and thoroughly, continue ad infinitum. This exercise IS classroom 2.0---a wave of the future where learning can be done at any place, at any time. I see this as also an opportunitie for multi-age collaborations. Why couldn't a 5th grade class be able to investigate a civil rights museum in Selma, Alabama for a Jr. Level high school class? Would there be NO merit in getting to virtually visit the museum and would there be no merit in having the high school class think of questions for the kids to answer? Would there be no merit in the 5th graders finding these answers? I'd hope that the deeper level thinking at the HS class would occur once the facts were gathered. I know of absolutely NO school in my region which would ever approve a field trip in person to Selma. Why not go virtually?

But I'm wondering what are any particular dark sides to these opportunities? Sure, maybe some kids would be dumb and hurtful to one another, but I think any dilligent teacher could take care of those types of situations. What else?

Views: 82

Comment by Ginger Lewman on July 7, 2007 at 11:50am
Well, I've got to admit that this idea of outsourcing field trips is not mine alone. I got the seed of the idea from Kevin, and Lisa Parisi, Christine Southard, and I worked in ideas from several others here on CR2.0.
I appreciate your kudoes and would also love to have you give some feedback on another, bigger idea. If you're interested, send me a private message and I'll invite you in to our Google Doc. I think that Connie has forwarded some info to you about this already.
Comment by Brad on July 10, 2007 at 9:19pm
Orrrrrrr......you could just come out to the "west side" and participate in a "real" field trip. I've got a farm, the neighbors have fossils (http://www.nwkansas.com/gldwebpages/Today%27s%20pages/front.pdf

We're pretty easy going....and if you give us a little advance time you could come out for the real "Ag Day" and ride horses. 8^)
Comment by Ginger Lewman on July 10, 2007 at 9:54pm
Hey, hey Brad! So fun to see you in RL and here!! What a rare treat! I'll seriously consider your offer...I'm all ready to sign us up as official Kansas Explorers (http://www.explorekansas.org/)--could we do a true archeological dig? It also may be cool to compare the subtle similarities/differences between "same" biomes of the tall grass prairie (Flint Hills) and the short grass prairie (the wilds of Mt Sunflower)! hmmm. virtual field trips have monetary advantages, but well, you guys are only a 7 hour drive away from my school...heck that's nearly DENVER!! :)

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