Over the past two years I’ve made recording student field trips a priority. The method of this has changed as I’ve experimented over time with video journaling (or vlogs as Karen Janowski once referred to them) and blogging. As somebody who spent a lot of time with a camera in hand over high school and college capturing more personal experiences, it wasn’t hard to make the transition to taking photographs and capturing video with a student and parent audience in mind.
This year’s trip to Washington D.C. has been my best experience to date. Part of this had to do with the consistent internet access at the hotel, allowing me to upload many pictures and videos each evening or morning to recap the day’s events. More significantly, my “new” found ability to post to blogger via email gave me the unhindered capability to post messages and images on the fly to my audience of other Parker students, teachers, and families back home.
parkerindc.blogspot.com was a tremendous success in terms of communication, with over 6000 views and 600 “unique visitors” (I suspect the counter treats all mobile phone connections as unique visitors, setting the actual unique visitors count significantly lower.) The blog consistently took me an extra hour before or after travel each day to post the larger content, but only a minute or two while on the bus or waiting in one of D.C.’s many lines to post simple photographs and brief comments.
During the trip I was left thinking to myself, “how does this benefit my students?” Sure they might enjoy browsing the photos after the trip, but with many of them taking photographs all along the way I suspect they will be content with sharing their own pictures with one another on facebook. One thing I am kicking myself over is the missed opportunity to share the blogging experience with them, particularly those with smart-phones who could have just as easily posted their photos to the blog as I did my own. Such an experience in their lives now might make them more prone to documenting their own adventures in the future as I have come to do with my educational career here. Still, I am left wondering how I can put more recording and reflection of such travels into the hands of our students so that they might have a more meaningful experience from the trip and beyond. To those reading this post, what other angles can be taken to enhance learning through field trip recordings? Are you familiar with any great examples you might be willing to share?