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Video Blog: Been to the Great Barrier Reef Lately?

March 27, 2012
at 12:22 pm PST

A great discussion here following a virtual fieldtrip (VFT) to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia by a 5th grade class at Augusta Elementary School in Greenville, South Carolina,  .

Cisco’s Dr. Lance Ford discusses the experience with one of the 5th grade students and her father who also attended the VFT.

Margaret Murphy, the 5th grade teacher who planned the VFT had this to say:

“Extending an opportunity to students to (voluntarily) come to school and immerse themselves in a foreign ecosystem is an amazing new method to reach our children….Not only did our students leave asking and thinking of more questions than they ever knew about the Great Barrier Reef, they were probing their parents to answer questions that the parents have never considered before. I have received more parental and student feedback on this VFT than I have on our three day (face-to-face) field trip to a South Carolina ecosystem.”

“Allowing students to feel as if they can ‘virtually travel’ half way around the world and experience/interact with an underwater ecosystem is absolutely amazing. I had a parent who emailed the program director in Australia to ask some more questions that they had over dinner that night. The level of engagement is incomparable. I have a 40 day unit to teach on Ecosystems and I believe that the children who participated in the Great Barrier Reef VFT experience learned more in that hour than they will from my Ecosystems Unit. Ideas of mutualism, parasitism, adaptations, food webs, limiting factors, and the balance of nature were all included while shocking the students with hugs from sharks. You can’t get that in the traditional classroom setting.”

Have you been involved in an interesting VFT (or regular FT) lately?
Stay tuned for other great conversations about VFTs, professional development and more!

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