Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Virtual Field Trip Vision

     Have you ever watched  National Geographic's Megastructures? I love this show, and other shows like it shown by other networks.

     I teach the Ironworker program at BCIT, and I quite often direct my students to watch these types of shows mainly for interest sake. These shows are great but they are just shows. I have worked on projects that have been filmed by The Discovery Channel. I understand that they are not on site for the whole project. They show up and shoot on schedule milestones.

     My vision for the future of these shows is to make them interactive. A virtual tour of a mega project. I think that this could be done rather easily with today's technology. All you need is an HD Gopro, and an iPhone; well maybe some other things too.

     I think the first step would be to get in contact with large contractors around the world and sell the idea of  using their construction sites as virtual classrooms. Once contractors were on board you would have to get in touch with trades programs around Canada or the globe for that matter. Once you have a data base of contractors and educators you would need to build some sort of schedule or data base. You would need to carefully construct a schedule so that trades classes would know where and when you would be doing your next tour. Communication would be have to be done with institutions prior to going on site. You would need to know what aspects of a project educators and there students were interested in learning about. The same site could be visited at different intervals to serve different trades; One day focus on steel construction, and the next day focus on pipe trades. Imagine students being able to ask live questions about a construction process with out leaving their classroom, or even their bedroom. Industry professionals on site willing to answer students questions in real time, sounds pretty cool to me.

    I have done a little bit of research on this idea. I have found many "virtual tours", but none with live feed two way communication. I have done a tour of the International Space Station, but never talked to someone living on it. Astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield is sending tweets from the space station like never before.The possibilities are endless for what I a proposing.

   I think that this idea could work for all construction trades and even engineering students. At this point it is just an idea in my head, and now on my blog. I can see the possibilities of media and technology going places we never thought were possible. Communication and scheduling seem to be the largest setbacks in this sort of activity. I think we have hit a point in time where technology is the easy part.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, that the benefits are many, especially in reaching places you never could with your class or with your budget, for that matter.

    Are there special units of learning you think this could be useful in? Are there places that are more local that could serve to illustrate the same techniques or concept?

    As a science teacher, I know that visiting other habitats would be spectacular, but admit that something is lost when it isn't experienced in person. I always struggle between using local examples and habitats and resorting to the less-relatable but more stunning specimens or examples from beyond our reach.