My Toyota Tapestry project eliminated these two barriers by allowing students to experience field trips through the use of videoconferencing technology.
These virtual fieldtrips involved 8-10 students, equipped with computers and video cameras, traveling to a local scientific facility and conducting a live webcast tour for their classmates back at school. Viewing the webcast on a projector, the students in the classroom had the opportunity to interact with the traveling group, ask questions of any expert scientist, view equipment and processes, and even assist in data and sample collection. Seven different field trips highlighted topics including astronomy, art glass fabrication, stream study and digital recording of sound, each field trip employing a different group of students conducting the onsite webcast. This rotating model allowed for maximum student participation and exposure to all seven experiences, while each student only missed one day of school.
Additionally, each webcast was recorded, edited and posted on this website for viewing by other science classes.