What is an Electronic Field Trip?

Electronic Field Trips can be confusing things, because they involve a lot of different components — and because they're unlike any other educational program out there. So if this is the first time you and your students have taken an EFT, we thought we'd give a little crash-course right off the bat.

Electronic Field Trips are the result of partnerships between Ball State University and museums across the country. Since most students are unable to take advantage of the immeasurable content in faraway museums, our program uses technology to make those resources available to a large, national audience. We do many EFTs each year, each with a unique topic geared toward different grade levels.

So what is an EFT? Well, it's several things:

It's a website.
Each field trip includes a website specifically geared toward the content of that EFT. This site serves two purposes: To provide you with the background and materials to guide your students through this field trip, and to provide interactive content that gets at the subject of this EFT.

Each field trip has a teacher side and a student side to it. The student side is intended to be used one-on-one by students, and it features educational content. The teacher side answers any questions you may have about the field trip program. It also has suggested classroom activities we have developed for you to use with your students.

It's a series of classroom activities.
Besides working with museums, our program also works with teachers. For each EFT, we take a group of teachers to the partner museum and immerse them in the content of the field trip. Those teachers then develop grade-appropriate activities for other teachers to use in preparation for the live broadcast.

In most field trips, the classroom activities are closely linked with the activities on the student side of this site. The activities provided on this site are meant to pick up where the student side leaves off, so it is recommended that you use both resources while planning your class time.

It's a live television broadcast.
The broadcast is the culminating element of the EFT experience. After having spent time on the website and learning in the classroom, students watch a 90-minute, live broadcast from the museum, park or institution that helped us develop that EFT. The program will feature experts from the museum, as well as other students and teachers who have also been using the curriculum on this site.

Since the broadcast is live, it has the potential to be an interactive experience for your students — more than just a static television program. Students can call in with questions that will be answered or discussed by the onscreen experts. During the broadcast, the website will feature an online Bank of Experts who will answer questions in our discussion forum.

All of these components work together to create a rich, in-depth educational experience for you and your students. Different teachers use these resources differently to match their own curriculum and schedule, but we find that using all three together provides the most complete experience and background.

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