Understanding Technology Integration on Single-Visit Field Trips: A Study of Three Field Trip Programs Utilizing Technology
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In a climate of an increased focus on education standards, testing and a general decrease in time and funding for schools to take field trips, museums must look critically at their field trip program offerings to maximize impacts, potentially rethinking how these programs operate. This research studies the integration of technology into the single-visit field trip, one way in which these programs are being rethought. Three case studies are examined: Play the Past at the Minnesota History Center, Zoo Scene Investigators at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and Surgical Suite: Total Knee Replacement at COSI. Observations and staff interviews provided insight into the following questions: how and why are museums integrating technology and what are the perceived benefits of technology integration? Findings suggest there is no single reason these institutions chose to integrate technology into their programs. Emergent themes include: fulfilling curricular goals, reaching elusive audiences and a view of students as digital natives. Perceived benefits were closely linked to motivations, but also included a perception that technology is a way to deeply engage students and a link between teacher and student benefits exists. Finally, though there is variation in the ways museums are integrating technology - for example, two cases are mobile games and one an interactive video conferencing experience - there were similarities in the processes these sites went through to integrate technology. These findings begin a conversation around the ways technology can be utilized in single-visit field trips.
- Museology