One day last spring, I was sitting in my office when I got a video call from Dr. Cindy Joffrion who runs the LifeSize Grant Services group. She asked if I wanted to go on a test flight with NASA. I thought it was a little late in the day for a road trip and was contemplating what in the world I would wear.
That’s when a commander from NASA Mission Control conferenced in to the call and gave us our orders. The next 15 minutes were my introduction to a virtual field trip and I was hooked.
Never heard of a virtual field trip? Neither had I. Before that day, I had no idea that virtual field trips existed, never mind the fact that there are literally hundreds of providers worldwide who host them on a daily basis. However, I was still confused as to why people would want to visit a museum on a video call rather than see it in person. I soon realized that virtual field trips served as a gateway for anyone, anywhere to experience sights they would never have had the chance to see based on geographical or economic limitations. Students in Texas could visit the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Students in California could visit an art museum in Cincinnati. Students from Mexico could visit a zoo in Indianapolis. The geographical and economic barriers simply evaporate through the power of live video.
After my “mission” with Cindy and NASA, we decided to start hosting virtual field trips for our customers and streaming them for people who didn’t currently have video systems. Our first two “Virtual Field Trip Extravaganzas” last spring were such a great success, we decided to make them into a series that will last throughout the entire 2012-2013 school year.
I find there’s really no way to express the joy and excitement students feel when interacting over video. The best I can do is show it to you. I hope you enjoy these clips from some of our previous virtual field trips and will join us for this year’s series, which promises to be bigger and better than the last!