Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.

Introduction to Electronic Field Trips

In-Class Techniques
Written by Scott Coletti, Middle School teacher
Crittenden Middle School, Mtn.View, CA.
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In-Class Techniques

I used the following techniques while running an electronic field trip: smart filters, expert teams, jigsawing, slide show productions using ClarisWorks 2.0., reading pairs, teacher assistant for a day (TA for a Day), etc.

One of the students' strongest experiences of learning was when I chose them to be TA for a day. During one or several periods I observed their ability to drive the Macs, interact and help their fellow students, and solve problems that arose. I tried to pick a student whose particular talent matched the shape of the day's lesson. So one young man who was great at the "Edit" menu was given the job of TA for a Day when I ran my NY minute on cutting, pasting, moving, and erasing images, text, movies, and sound files from slide shows.

The response was so positive that I started playing with the concept. I ran a number of TA teams for a week with equal success. Of course I got a chance to reteach skills, ostensibly to the TA, but the other students had their ears firmly to the ground so they would not miss out. We all learned a lot.

Expert Teams

Have the kids split up into expert development teams. Have at hand materials prepped and ready to go:

  1. CD ROM resources: I had 3 2x CD ROM readers and 3 CD's. They were Groliers and Comptons Encyclopedia, and Small Blue Planet for the students' chronosphere activity.

    Teacher's Note-For item 1- Pre search your CD ROM resources, noting key words. Also, of course, it is a good idea to teach searching for information on a CD in a quick NEW York Minute (post link here-my NY minute on searching electronic resources).

    ASIDE The seventh grade class that went on last year's Live from Antarctic field trip found it interesting to push around the idea surrounding the way sunlight and time zones distribute themselves globally. Successfully transferring our planetary system's relation to the sun is the best way to create a domain of knowledge for moving to the subject of the inner planets. And the CD Small Blue Planet does a wonderful job of conveying the concept of the planet's chromosphere. If you would like a tour of the planets in anticipation of LFM or any solar astronomy unit you are teaching, check out the University of Arizona's Tour of the Planets.

  2. Video tape relevant to the field trip. I showed footage from the previous years Passport to Knowledge (Live From Other Worlds), when some of my student got to drive a submersible robot underneath the ice off McMurdo base in the Antarctic. This gave rich visual display of environs around McMurdo base and the environs in general.

    The expert team that looked at this footage was responsible for finding the best 3 minutes, using one-minute segments. The team used the VCR inch meter and annotation techniques as their tools.

    ASIDE Here I tend to limit tape "watch" time to 10 minutes at a time believing that a hands-on activity associated with 10 minutes of viewing provides a bounty of information, more than enough for middle school students to assimilate (post here link to "Learning in Humans and Machines" European Science Foundation).

  3. Computer network resources From local education BBS's to Global School House (aka FredMail) to Freenets and commercial networks such as AOL, Compuserve, Prodigy, Delphi, full Internet connectivity with graphical World Wide Web browser capability. I used what would assure me that the kids would experience success during their harvest.

    Teacher's Note- Do a presearch on whatever connectivity you have. Saving bookmarks, noting key words, and teaching search techniques for electronic resources.

  4. Email traffic (lists, learning centers, journals, content specific or concept specific ezines (electronic magazine) prefiltered by yourself relevant to the day's topic/s.

  5. Journal filtering by student teams is a favorite of mine. I give students the task of reading a journal and then summarizing it so that a student 2 to 3 years behind them can understand the key concepts and content. Also use a "What I Learned Today Language Journal" that I modified for use during e trips. The What I Learned Journal includes the following questions:

    Where info came from

    What I did not understand

    Where I went to clarify what I did not understand

    Words I had to look up

    Topics of great interest to me

  6. Prepublished material is often available that is free and easy to get your hands on. NASA has many publications related to their mission of promoting science in K12 education. In the Teacher's Guide, on page 61 (MY DRAFT AT LEAST) is a list of materials that represents multiple mediums; video, books, magazines and lab materials.

  7. Smart Filtering is last on this list because it requires a lot more time. I consider smart filtering to be a more advanced activity.

    Teacher's Note- As with any great teaching, the job is to develop a focused lesson that leaves room for the wondering human mind. I try to leave room in my lesson design so that if I see lights go off in the students' eyes, I can figure out how to connect their interests to the topic. One tool I use is slide show production using the draw module inside ClarisWorks2.0. Asking the kids to choose a curricular topic related to our electronic field trip gives them open range on what they want to express.

    During the LFA project last year our class took a vote on which learning center to join. With much discussion and debate the kids strongly, overwhelmingly chose the center dealing with survival in extreme environments, which led to living quarters, which led to a program within my local region called "Math Renaissance Project." The project had a Mac software program and curriculum to teach middle school math by designing a habitat for the South Pole station. During broadcast 3 when a high school student Elizabeth showed us the new living quarters, the design sparked much interest in the kids. Here is a lesson in real classroom management, though. While I was able to snag the lesson book and software for designing South Pole habitat, I did not execute the lesson in class because of time constraints. Typical of a classroom teacher, great ideas and materials, no time.

    Annotations using word processing and quick-time clips in the ClarisWorks draw environment. The ability to take short (10 second max) clips from video/audio and drop them into ClarisWorks with appropriate annotations proved to be a hit with my middle school kids. They thrive when presented with this kind of task. For the last couple of years they have spent hours outside of class generating these slides for their slide shows. They are willing to struggle with some fairly abstract concepts to figure out how to add quick time audio and video to their presentations. In order to intelligently choose the footage, they had to review the tape, nailing down big ideas of concept and content. This was a fruitful endeavor in the class. LESSON PLAN/S HERE
    Use electronic excerpts from Teacher's Guide on net.

    Web Chat, Virtual field trip into KAO, teacher registration and mail list as way to connect with real people.

    Teacher orientation broadcast is a great way to become familiar with the content and process of the project.

    Link to downloadable book mark file for LFA, LFS, LHST and LFM.

    Kids loved slide show project at end of year

    Quakes show

    NIH Image and expert online and in class.

    Info management is different for an electronic field trip because of so much material. A speed reading course is not out of line.

    Remote sensing history???

    Down load pages for off line viewing using a Graphical browser give instructions for using NETSCAPE. Using Netscape as a multimedia tool.

    Hard drive management-a real classroom issue. What I do and have done.

    Complex instruction set Stanford School of Ed work?

    Other people doing or referencing projects-

    CoSN, Global School House, Academy One, NASA K-12 Internet Initiative, etc.

    | Introduction | Electronic Field Trips a Working Definition | Time Management

    | In Class TechniquesTheoretical Underpinnings |

     |Email Tools |Reading List | The Fundamental Tools |
    | CU-Seeme & Web Chat Resources|