VFE Workshops!

Selected Resources for NYC Science Leadership Academy at Cornell Workshop June 30 & July 1, 2008:

Here’s the DRAFT PowerPoint on VFE’s including Taughannock mini VFE:

vfe-for-nyc-leadership-academy.  (PowerPoint file)

With some revisions, see it as a video (note that there is audio in a later slide):

Why Does This Place Look Like This? Virtual Fieldwork/ReaL Inquiry

The presentation includes photos with links embedded within them.  Setting that up is fairly simple.  Here’s a very quick video showing how it’s done:

How to Embed Pictures in Pictures (External link)

And, here’s a blog post going a bit further on some of these technologies.

Supporting reading for the VFE workshop can be found on the Learning Links page of this site.  The link is also at the top of each page within the site.

Most photos used in the workshop VFE (and more photos of Taughannock can be found on my Flickr.com photostream.

Information on past workshops:

Teachers involved in the original grant presented at The Science Teachers’ Association of New York State (STANYS) annual meeting in November of 2007.

The STANYS workshop engaged participants in the actual development of a Virtual Fieldwork Exerience at Nevele Falls (shown below), on the grounds of the conference hotel.

Nevele Falls.
Previous Workshops

In March 2007, there were two ReaL VFE workshops — one on the Colgate University campus on March 24 and a second at the National Science Teachers’ Association annual meeting in St. Louis, Missouri. The Colgate workshop was notably longer, with time to actually engage in drafting a VFE. The NSTA session was more of an overview. CDs were distributed at both workshops, and most of the content of those CDs (more was added for the second workshop) is available here. Two additions to the CD were the story of Aggasiz’s teaching often called “Look at Your Fish!” and a PowerPoint template for illustrating how to make panoramas and embedded pictures.

Download the agenda!

Information from the workshop flier:

Attention Science Teachers!

Why Does This Place Look the Way it Does?

A Workshop on Creating Virtual Fieldwork Experiences

How can I take my students into the field when I can’t take them into the field?

Brought to you by the ReaL* Earth System Inquiry Project, NSF ESI 0455833.

*ReaL stands for Regional and Local

Co-Sponsored by: The Upstate Institute at Colgate University, The Mid-State Teacher Center, The Paleontological Research Institution and Museum of the Earth, and The National Science Foundation

Workshop Overview:

The workshop will begin by contrasting two different virtual fieldwork experiences (VFEs), created by the workshop leaders (Earth Science teachers Sarah Miller of Norwich High School and Jud Spanneut of Perry Junior High in New Hartford). The two virtual fieldwork experiences are different both pedagogically and technologically. And they are both really cool. See them here: http://dugganhaas.edublogs.org/2007/02/28/real/ Following the overview of these two VFEs, we will help you plan for creating your own VFE and actually begin the process. Teachers should arrive with digital photos (just a few will get you started) of a potential VFE site either on a CD or USB “thumb drive” or with photos posted to a website. If you wish to bring your own laptop, please do. While the examples focus on geology, the approach is broadly applicable across the sciences.

Who are the facilitators?

In addition to Jud and Sarah, other ReaL Teachers Melisa Detbarn, Joe Henderson, Laurie Van Vleet (and possibly others) will help to facilitate and share their experiences in developing virtual fieldwork as will project Co-Principal Investigator Don Duggan-Haas.

When:

Saturday March 24, 2007 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Lunch provided

Where:

Colgate University Lathrop Hall, Room 158 Directions to Colgate & Campus Map

**Inservice credit is available.

Questions? Want to see example VFEs?

Scroll on down!Or email Melisa Dettbarn at: melisa.dettbarn@gmail.com

To register:

Return the form found here to Mid-State Teacher Center, P.O. Box 168, Verona, NY 13478, phone Tracy Pulverenti at 361-5555 or email at tpulverenti@moboces.org.

SPACE IS LIMITED!

Tentative Agenda:

Download the near final one page version of the agenda here (same link as at the top of the page).

Part 1: Contrasting two VFEs

  • Sarah’s VFE is an extensive website with opportunities to look closer at many objects and sites along the way. Print the graphic organizer and then explore the geology in and near Norwich, New York. This experience is the more open-ended of the two examples and requires considerable class time for students and the teacher to complete.
  • Jud’s VFE (see below) was created in collaboration with his Perry colleagues and is an interactive Quicktime Movie. (It was created in Apple’s Keynote and also available in that format). The movie saved here is very low resolution. Higher resolution is available.  This trip to Chapman Creek is intended to introduce students to virtual fieldwork and is necessarily more directed than Sarah’s. While this is a well-polished draft, it is still in development. Chapman Creek is located on the school grounds but would be difficult to access with a large group. The experience can be completed within a single lab period. The accompanying worksheet is available here: (.doc) (.html)

Chapman Creek VFE Low Resolution

Part 2: Why teach this way?

After participants explore the VFEs, we will discuss how our approach is informed by research on how people learn and the ways in which these experiences connect to standards. Learning generally involves figuring things out while teaching is too often about pointing things out. We’ll talk about the difficulties of changing emphasis while also providing some concrete strategies.

We know, of course, that actually taking students into the field is better than what we can do electronically, but it isn’t always possible and, a VFE can be a very helpful part of both preparation for, and reflection on, the experience.

It is worth noting that we changed the name of what we’re doing. In researching virtual fieldtrips, Sarah found the majority of them to be tours — where, as noted above, the science was pointed out and students really didn’t have to figure much out. So, we first made a distinction that what we are working toward was a virtual field trip, simulating the kind of experience that you might get by going on a geology field camp rather than on a tour. The trouble with that label is, it’s already in use and others who use it don’t make the the distinction we did. And, when scientists go into the field, they call it fieldwork.

Part 3: Getting started on your own VFE

ReaL teachers will work with you as you plan your own VFE. VFEs can be extensive or very short and can use a wide variety of technical approaches. While Jud and Sarah’s are both technologically impressive neither requires sophisticated technological skills. A VFE can be as simple as a collection of pictures (read a vignette about that here). PowerPoint works well for creating VFEs as well and examples are available on the ReaL Project Website. We will be working in a PC lab, but both Don and Jud will have Macs. Sarah’s VFE was created using Frontpage; Jud’s was created using Apple’s Keynote; Melisa’s using PowerPoint; and Don’t using GoLive. The group will be small enough that the work time will allow for one on one or small group interactions.

Some recommendations: Issues to consider before creating your own VFE

It isn’t necessary to do any of this work prior to the workshop.

Start with a particular concept, feature or idea you want students to understand. This is another way of saying: “Focus!” You’ll likely want to start small. Over time, you can expand what is in a particular VFE website, PowerPoint or whatever other format you might us. You can also create multiple VFEs, possibly in different formats.

We recommend starting locally. The ReaL in ReaL Earth Science Inquiry means Regional and Local. A fundamental goal of the project is to help students build understanding of local and regional geology as a foundation to understand global processes and issues. Starting locally gives the students a connection and it allows you to return and take more photos, pay attention to whatever you missed on the last visit and it is also easier to actually bring students to the site which promises to be a richer experience than those provided virtually (though virtual visits ahead of time can truly improve the quality of the experience of actual visits).

Take photos before the workshop. Ideally, teachers will come to the workshop with some digital photos from a potential VFE site. Those photos should be on a CD, a thumb drive or already on a web site. Or you can bring a laptop. You don’t need many pictures — a VFE can be in the form of a PowerPoint presentation with just a few photos. Of course, feel free to bring (or have accessible) as many photos as you’d like.

Take plenty of closeups. All of us, or nearly all of us, who have created VFEs have gotten back after a trip, looked through our photos and thought that we did not take enough closeups. Remember, you want students to be able to look closely at things of their choosing.

The text from the ESPRIT email announcement:

We want your input as we prepare this teacher-lead workshop on creating virtual fieldwork experiences!

The ReaL Earth System Inquiry Project* is planning a teacher workshop on the use and development of virtual fieldwork experiences (VFEs). VFEs are designed to provide students the opportunity to explore an interesting field site, raise their own questions and take a closer look at things they choose to look at (with guidance, of course).

We expect to begin the workshop by contrasting two teacher created VFEs that differ substantially both technologically and pedagogically. We also think they are really cool and complementary to one another. We’ll start the workshop with Sarah Miller and Jud Spanneut talking about the VFE’s they’ve created; what they have in common and how they are different. The next couple of paragraphs describe the two VFEs briefly and provide the links so you can go off (virtually) and do the fieldwork yourself.

Sarah Miller’s VFE s is an extensive website with opportunities to look closer at many objects and sites along the way. Print the graphic organizer and then explore the geology in and near Norwich, New York. This experience is the more open-ended of the two examples and requires considerable class time for students and the teacher to complete.

Jud Spanneut and his colleagues at Perry Junior High School created a VFE (see below) that is an interactive Quicktime Movie. (It was created in Apple’s Keynote and also available in that format). This trip to Chapman Creek is intended to introduce students to virtual fieldwork and is necessarily more directed than Sarah’s. Chapman Creek is located on the school grounds but would be difficult to access with a large group. The experience can be completed within a single lab period. The accompanying worksheet is available here: (.doc) (.html)

What we do after that depends upon you. What we really want to do is help you (if you participate) develop a VFE that works for you.

  1. What do you need to have happen in a four hour workshop?
  2. How can we practically support you in development after you go home?

These questions are posted as we’d appreciate your responses as we move ahead in planning the workshop. Sharing through the blog allows us all to see responses as they come in.

*ReaL stands for Regional and Local. ReaL Earth System Inquiry is an NSF-funded program offering professional development for early career Earth science teachers and curriculum resource development. The project’s primary objective is to support the teaching of regional and local geology in inquiry-oriented way.

One thought on “VFE Workshops!

  1. Pingback: Some Technological Tips for Creating and Using Virtual Fieldwork | Facilitate Wonder

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