Presenter: Nancy Herron

Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Internet Field Trips
August 1998

I. Discussion: Electronic Field Trips to Big Bend Ranch and Brazos Bend State Parks were conducted April 1 and April 8 via the World Wide Web. Staff will provide an overview of this innovative learning adventure funded in part through the national office of Project WILD. This was a first for Texas, an opportunity for school classes to participate electronically with park rangers, interpreters and naturalists in the asking of questions and sharing of information about the West Texas mountains and desert and East Texas bottomlands. Prepared presentations about the biology, history, geology, archeology and special opportunities that each of these significant sites offer were presented on our agency web site. Graphic images, selected video clips and live audio and video provided the backdrop for interactive sessions with the students. They had the option of calling an 800 number of communicating via E-mail Scheduled presentations occurred throughout the school day for each trip. Each registered class received a mailout ahead of time providing background information and pre-field trip activities. A teacher’s guide provided details of the technology as well as connections to the TEKS and suggestions for follow-up activities and projects. The day of the events, interactions occurred from 9 to 2, with all of the action archived for future access. An on-line training was scheduled in march for teachers and technology directors to fine tune their reception and communication capabilities. On-line registration was conducted until mid February. Over 7600 kids registered for the Big Bend Ranch trip and more than 5600 registered for the Brazos Bend trip. More than half of the participant were minorities. Each participant is encouraged to visit the park now to receive recognition buttons indicating that they "surfed" those parks via the web.

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