Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Student-Created Virtual Field Trips: Howe Public Schools Live and On Location!

These are my notes from Tammy Parks‘ session “Student-Created Virtual Field Trips: Howe Public Schools Live and On Location!” at the Oklahoma Technology Association (OTA) conference on 11 February 2009. MY THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

Howe PS has 475 students PK-12.

Talking today about a virtual field trip that Tammy’s high school journalism students have created as part of an international contest.

It makes a big difference when students are doing a project for the entire world to see
– another level of excitement and interest
– much different than just doing a worksheet that doesn’t go anywhere

Audience members report their uses of videoconferencing
– virtual field trips from content providers, getting language classes,

I teach broadcast journalism
– started as a video production class 2 years ago, started with 2 students and a news cast “CLE Live: Camera, Lights, Education!”
– 1 student was the news anchor, another was the producer
– started from there, streaming local news episodes live

When I started
– like a convergence journalism class
– kids do print stories, news broadcasts, web-publishing

I helped lead a media workshop at OU last summer
– learned how to create stories using audio and video
– we have some great programs developing in our state
– are some wonderful programs like McAlister, Tulsa Union, others with broadcast programs

Video can be used in ANY classroom
– it can bring any subject to life

Celebrate Oklahoma Voices is a great project for documenting stories from our communities

We say we are “live and on location” because now we have a Tandberg Mobile Commander
– the last few years, we have just done stories on our small campus

Due a severe weather warning Monday, our field trip was rescheduled for this upcoming

“Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand” – Old Adage
– kids get more involved in their learning and actually have to teach what they learn to other students
– this is my 3rd virtual field trip to create with students
– the level of learning in these projects is far beyond what they learn in other contexts
– they retain a lot of knowledge, this is very authentic

New t-shirts have been created for CLE LIVE! this year
– we will be at the Oklahoma state capitol next week for “Technology at the Capitol” day (on Monday, Feb 16th)

Now we have about 40 students in CLE Live! who produce about 3 programs/broadcasts per week

Casey England was the first broadcaster at Howe


Last year our kids created an old-time style radio show using Garageband
– kids write scripts, created authentic sound effects, recorded everything in GarageBand, changed their voices, more

met people at Oklahoma Horizon, news program that runs out of Career Tech program at OSU
– that led to an internship for Casey, she graduated last year from OSU with a degree in broadcast journalism

Marco Torres, a wonderful teacher from California is a mentor to me
– taught in a school which had a lot of dropouts, brought in video production
– says video production can give kids a reason to come back to school the next day

We do not have a selection process for my class: we have students across the entire range
– project based
– differentiated
– students are learning collaboration and presentation skills

If you don’t have a class and project like this going in your class, get in touch with me and others who are doing this

What we are doing Monday at the state capitol
– a virtual field trip from the Capitol: “Historical Art, The Capitol Crown, and The Legislative Process: A Virtual Visit To The Oklahoma State Capitol Building”
– we are going to attempt to do a virtual field trip from the capitol on Monday (Feb 16th)
– some students are presenting the intros of each topic from Howe, who have a basketball game that night
– students on-site are going to cover art on the 4th floor rotunda
– hoping to show that off live

Going to interview some of our elected officials
– if you have some anxious 4th graders and videoconferencing equipment, talk to me and maybe we can bring your classroom into this videoconference as well

The focus on this presentation is Content Creators: Communicators and Collaborators
– the buzz we’ve heard at this conference about collaboration and creating groups fits right in here with virtual field trips
– we have done collaborations this year through Skype as well as H.323 videoconferences
– have done some collaborative exchanges: we’ve exchanged Google Earth files, students in Vermont have made placemarks in Google Earth and exchanged those with files created by our kids in Howe, Oklahoma

Kids Creating Community Content (KC3) project

Last year students did a VFT about a local archeology site, Spiro Mounds
– this year they opened it up to middle school and high school students
– so this year I have two teams: one middle school team of 8th graders and one high school team of 9th graders

Premise: What is in your backyard that you can share with others?

No matter where you live in the world your community is unique. What can others learn from your area, your citizens, your natural or agricultural resources or your local and national treasures? What can you share with others that will enhance their view of your culture, your country or your heritage and our world? This standards based project seeks to tap into the creative nature of students as you look at your community with new eyes and explore ways to share your findings with others using videoconferencing and technology as a resource.

Last year Hawaiian and Canadian students were interacting, seeing students in Canada come in from recess with snow on them, Hawaiian students responding to them– very real world connections

Tommy Beardon on Stamford, Texas, is really the king of virtual field trip creation
– did one on cotton

When we started our project, I called their teacher and asked to “lurk” in their videoconference, got to learn from what they have done,

Most of these videos are out on TeacherTube

Last year I won a trip to Alan November’s conference BLC in Boston, presented with Jan Zanetis of Tandberg

KC3 Project InterviewHere is the RSS feed for all 18 recorded FLV presentations from KC3 2008

Title of VFT is “Indian Territory, Western Lawmen and Outlaws: Tales from the Courthouse of ‘Hanging Judge’ Parker” is high school project
– content is geared to 6th grade
– focusing on forts, outlaws, and Judge Parker

JHS project is titled “Trail of Tears, Frontier Forts, and the notorious ‘Hanging Judge’ of the Wild West: Tales from the Fort Smith National Historic Site”
– focus on Trail of Tears
– content geared to 4th graders
– then they are also talking about the federal court system that was established there in the late 1800s

We have been working on this for six weeks, this is very time intensive
– our kids also create a Moodle classroom, an online learning community
– students are in the Moodle as administrators, creating content
– we have pre-activities, supplemental enrichment activities

We will be leaving at 6:30 am on Friday, field trip

that content will be out on a website for you to see:

We take a lot of virtual field trips
– no bus, no fuss field trip
– we are 2-3 hours away from anywhere big, so virtual field trips made a lot of sense to us
– Virtual Field Trip Michigan State University Museum, Sense of Adaptation for Howe Third Graders
— it was fabulous, very dynamic, kept students’ attention, the museum sent out materials in advance, students drew before and after

I have also been on some very bad virtual field trips, someone talking to the same powerpoint slides for 15 minutes
– there are GREAT ones out there as well!

Howe Broadcast Journalism students attended a Virtual Field Trip to News Channel 5 at WLAC, the CBS affiliate in Nashville where they met the news anchor and an investigative reporter

We hired a Spanish teacher who now teaches Spanish to 7 different iTV sites, using Moodle, laptops, also using Rosetta Stone as curriculum which is self-paced

Virtual Field Trips in the past
– Great Barrier Reef
– Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame
– COSI – Center of Science and Industry (Gadget-works is great)
– Radio/TV Museum, etc.

Peer-to-Peer critiques: other broadcast students connect with Tammy’s students, talk about how they can improve

Student Created VFTs

I also have started “Collaboration 2.0 project”
– right now on the CILC Collaboration Center there are about 130 projects: teachers wanting collaboration partners
– after posting this, I received about a dozen emails from teachers and schools that wanted to work with us

We try to do at least 1 collaboration per year off-

Are any of you doing collaborative projects with other schools?

Also received an email from Sean Wallace in Irasburg, Vermont, who teaches Science and computer technology to 6th, 7th and 8th graders.
– from that connection, we are sharing our virtual field trip on Friday with them

Last year we also worked with a school in New Jersey
– did a skype video exchange
– the Jonas Brothers are from Wyckoff, New Jersey
– their experiences are so different from our kids: access and familiarity with the subway, things in the big city, etc.
– Our interaction

Alan Duke works with CNN
– I met him at conferences in the past, he is a journalism guru
– my kids were struggling with writing between the sound bytes of the story
– I reached out and contacted Alan at CNN, he said they use Skype, so we used Skype to bring him into our classroom

Did an interview this year with a student in Hawaii
– one of my students have interviewed three of the national organizational presidents


We use WireCast to do our live productions
– we started with very low-end cameras
– we are always beating the bushes for grants
– last year we added a lighting kit

Some schools in the state have $60K studios

Darren Kuropatwa says “Don’t think of a tool I need to learn, think about what can I do now that I couldn’t do before.”

“What Can I Do Now That I Couldn’t Do Before?”
– interview anyone from the world
– collaborate on a geography share with a classroom in a different region in OK and HI; VT and MO
– don’t jsut read about a career choice; bring the profession to your classroom (Marty with SDE)
– hold book talks with other students/classrooms
– debate science hot topics such as stem cell research
– peer to peer test prep (EOI, AP, ACT, reviews, etc.)
– Speak to a student in Darfur about Genocide and Human Rights


Last year’s VFT dates back to thousands of years ago: “The Mound Builder, the Myth, The Legend: A Tale of Historic Treasures”
– for grades 5-6
– our kids had studied about Spiro Mounds in their textbook
– my kids were on fire about the history and what they learned about this area

2009 Putting it all together
– practiced using IVC equipment
– reinforced NO TALKING HEADS: as engaging as possible
– invited local media to support student achievement
– my advice to the students is to HAVE FUN, everything else will come into place
– celebrated successes, Lunch at Garfields, food motivates!
– we have documented our learning outomes along the way

This year getting equipped to work with Park staff
– Tandberg Educator MXP, had pre-visit from the classroom
– Full multimedia integration with SMART symposium
– ability to record content ot the Tandberg content server
– Bridging capabilities for multi-site connections in both IP and ISDN
– 100 MB connection to state internet service provider (OneNet)
– 2 Tandberg Prifle MXP 3000 – HD VC (2009 VC) – Tammy has this in her classroom
– 1 Tandberg Edge 85 – HD VC (2009 VFT)
– Tandberg’s Mobile Commander (2009 VFT)

Now showing video from ODLA 2009 of Tandberg Mobile Commander explained by Chris Renfrow

Tandberg Mobile Commander – Chris Renfrow

VFT Enhancements
– hybrid VFT with Moodle
– syncrhonous and asynchronous chats
– hands-on activity
– pretest and posttest

Last year integrated a Howe basketball tshirt throw over video (showed the video)

Kids really realized last year doing their VFT how hard it is to be a teacher!

Lots of added value in the collaboration process
– one of the participants in KC3 last year had students who had never seen a cow before

All ties back to ISTE NETS

This project won ISTE recognition

Link from Roxanne Glaser and Janine Lim “20 Days to a Better VC Coordinator”

we are the only Oklahoma school this year in KC3

Contact info:
– IP
– tammyparks [at] mac [dot] com

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On this day..







7 responses to “Student-Created Virtual Field Trips: Howe Public Schools Live and On Location!”

  1. Roxanne Glaser Avatar

    thanks for the link to our 20 Days To a Better VC Coordinator project. I can’t believe that no one was doing collaborative projects! You are so right that we need to continue to share what we do and create more opportunities for collaborations.

    We will presenting more about these types of projects at the TxDLA conference in April.

  2. […] 9.       I listened to Tammy P. remind us, if they can do it…we can do it. (GO Howe!) […]

  3. Andy Avatar

    Excellent. Thank you Wes for posting up this presentation. I wish every session at the conference had such great coverage.

  4. Tammy Parks Avatar

    My students presented their Virtual Field Trips from the Fort Smith National Historic Site in Fort Smith, AR to students in Irasburg, VT on Friday 13, 2009. Here is a link of local news coverage of the events.

    My students will be leading a VFT creation at our state Capitol on Monday, February 16 as part of Supt. Garrett’s State Technology Day at the Capitol! Check the website on Monday for a streaming link of the live event.

    Student-created VFT’s are well worth the effort! I am still on an endorphin high from the day! “If we can do it . . . you can do it!”

    Roxanne: You and Janine are my heroes! You may have met Lance Ford and/or Scott Parks (my hubby) at Txdla . . . they would have been representing Howe.

  5. […] presentation “Humanizing the Learning Technology” is available as an audio podcast. My text notes from Tammy’s session “Student-Created Virtual Field Trips: Howe Public School… from this past week at the Oklahoma Technology Association’s annual conference are available. […]

  6. […] annual conference, high school journalism teacher Tammy Parks shared a presentation titled “Student-Created Virtual Field Trips: Howe Public Schools Live and On Location!” In the presentation, Tammy showed how one of her students has been using Skype to conduct […]