Saturday, January 06, 2007

“We cannot change the past, but we can direct the future.”

“We cannot change the past, but we can direct the future.”

Are your students bored or are they engaged in learning? More specifically, is rigorous learning occurring in your classroom? If not, then maybe you should rethink the way you teach. Students today are not the students of yesteryear. Students today are plugged in. Televisions, cell phones, I-Pods, game boys, palm pilots and monitors all have screens and according to recent data, the average student spends at least six hours a day in front of one or a combination of these screens. Unfortunately, in the typical school setting, most screens are taken from students for the majority of the day. As a result, students are bored and teachers and administrators can’t figure out why students aren’t excited about learning. If teachers and administrators want to get students excited about learning then they have to integrate the above screens into the school’s curriculum. Screens can be brought into the classroom in a number of ways, but one of the best ways to bring screens into the classroom is to take students on virtual field trips.

What are virtual field trips? Virtual field trips AKA virtual tours are guided explorations through the Web that organizes a collection of pre-screened, thematically based web pages into a structured online learning experience. (Foley, 2003) More importantly, these trips are are great learning tools that get students excited about learning. I just finished reading an article from the Chicago Tribune about David Freeman and his virtual field trips. It seems that David has been helping students take virtual field trips for a few years now.

David Freeman founded an organization called the Wilderness Classroom Program in an effort to take students on exotic cyberspace field trips. Freeman says that the "program is designed to get students excited about learning ... We want the program to motivate students, especially those who aren't motivated by textbooks." Hats off to Mr. Freeman and people like Mr. Freeman that are doing more than their share to promote 21st Century learning. If you would like to read the article from the Chicago Tribune about David Freeman and the virtual project, CLICK HERE. If you are interested in going directly to the Wilderness Classroom program then CLICK HERE.

Here are some other virtual field trip resources. I hope you find them useful…

Teacher Created Resources by Core Area

Volcano World

Bob Godwin-Jones resources for emerging technologies

The teachers guide


Best regards,

William Bishop (Bill)

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