The Mountain-Plains Museum Association had a successful conference in Corpus Christi October 1st through the 5th. The International Museum of Cultures (IMC) had the opportunity to explore the purpose of Electronic Field Trips with the attendees during a conference session. This was an excellent opportunity to also present the decision process IMC followed in developing its Electronic Field Trip (IMC Rocks!) and related Project Based Learning transportable artifacts (Discovery Boxes).
The IMC recognized the increased role that museums are taking in education. An important reason for this increased role is because learning during a visit to a museum is from personal discovery and individual experience.
When a student personally discovers new information, further thought is stimulated creating new questions and the need for more answers. The process of learning through discovery stimulates critical thinking in our young people – a capability that is incredibly valuable for success in this technically connected world.
Individual experience occurs when a student is able to actually touch artifacts that are not part of their immediate environment or culture. There is a great movement in Project Based Learning (PBL) in the classroom because of the advantages of learning through personal experience. The IMC developed transportable artifacts (called Discovery Boxes) to provide this personal experience.
The IMC wanted to provide a means for students, which did not have travel budgets to visit the museum, to still learn about indigenous cultures from around the world. The IMC developed an Electronic Field Trip to accomplish this.
The eField Trip is accompanied with a complete curriculum. The Discover Boxes come with projects for learning. These tools become an excellent way to transport students into the museum without actually traveling to the museum.
The cuts in school budgets throughout the country have created an increased need for eField Trips and transportable artifacts, so, students can still have the benefits of museums.