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?