All teachers are familiar with the notion of Instructional TV (ITV). Ideally, ITV is educational programming with material and student/teacher interactivity, serving a broader criteria, a wider audience, a richer content of instruction than would otherwise be possible. A great example is a physics class taught to any high school student that qualifies. A district gets to offer a physics class in concert with all districts in a region without moving the limited, but highly interested, student population to the teaching site.
MOVING TOWARD A WORKING DEFINITION OF ELECTRONIC FIELD TRIPS
Start thinking about electronic field trips as an ITV model that works out with weights 30 hours a week. You still get live television with a video tape option, but the projects are offered nationally and internationally, not just regionally. Because of this national scope, global and off-planet destinations are possible. Also, current experts and resources are brought to bear for the purpose of executing a sustained and more powerful "field trip" than any region could muster.
Print materials suggesting hands-on, in-class activities are available as with ITV. Additionally, Internet, online computer resources are created, referenced, and supported, for enhancing, expanding and enriching everyone's learning experience.
Resources created, referenced, and supported could be any and all of the following list. This is a working list, by the way, in no way intended to be all inclusive. Resource examples are such things as challenge questions; puzzles; question and answer data bases; ask-an-expert forums; collaborative science experiments; learning centers; various email tools and traffic; content; images (for analysis and aesthetic); interactive lessons; and links to related information archives and material. And, of course, as with ITV most Electronic field trips focus on curricular goals by grade range. So the current field trip my school has chosen to participate in, Live From the Hubble Space Telescope, targets the middle school grades.
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