Electronic Field Trip to Costa Rica Is Cross-Curriculur and Organized

T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education), August 1997 | Go to article overview

Electronic Field Trip to Costa Rica Is Cross-Curriculur and Organized


In just one day, students at Baker Elementary School in Acworth, Georgia, saved 37 acres of rain forest, came face to face with a live boa constrictor and assisted scientists in experiments taking place live at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica -- all without ever leaving their classroom.

Last April during Earth Week, Baker Elementary students did all of these things by travelling electronically to Costa Rica as part of a live, interactive educational program called Science in the Rain Forest. Created by Turner Learning, Inc. (Atlanta, Ga.), in conjunction with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Science in the Rain Forest transformed students across the nation into ecological scientists as they learned about plant and animal life from deep within one of nature's richest living laboratories -- the Costa Rican rain forest.

Turner Learning Adventures is a series of electronic field trips combining live telecasts with telephones and computer technologies that takes students on interactive adventures without ever leaving school. Since 1994, Turner Learning has produced 13 of these electronic field trips from places like Berlin, Germany, discussing life after the fall of the Berlin Wall; the Gettysburg Battlefield, to learn about the Civil War; San Diego, California, to gain a behind-the-scenes look at politics during the 1996 presidential debate; and the Atlanta Braves spring training camp to learn math, science, history and economics through baseball.

The eighth field trip in the series, Science in the Rain Forest took students of all ages to the La Selva Biological Station -- one of the premier field stations in the world -- and exposed them to fascinating array of insect, reptiles and wildlife, while focusing on the importance of preserving the world's rain forests.

How It's Done

"One of the reasons why I like going on Turner Learning electronic field trips is because they allow me to focus on the students and the curriculum rather than all of the little things like permission slips and costs," says Carol Murphy, a media specialist at Baker. Through the integration of broadcast, cable and computer technologies, students talked with international and local Costa Rican scientists while examining the biodiversity of plant and animal life, and discovering how natural resources relate to science and technology. Science in the Rain Forest also shared ideas with students on what they can do in their own communities to help preserve the rain forests. …

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