Future of Learning: A rigorous virtual field trip

View this email in your browser
Future of Learning
A newsletter from The Hechinger Report
 Share Share
 Tweet Tweet
 Forward Forward

Javeria Salman

By Javeria Salman
Pandemic closures prompted hundreds of museums, art galleries and zoos around the world to launch virtual field trips in the last year. Online “trips” let kids peek in on polar bears in the Antarctic, walk through exhibits in natural history museums, or visit art collections in Paris — and helped teachers give students a break from the monotony of remote learning.
Most of these virtual field trips were like their in-person predecessors — a fun, if educational, break from class, not necessarily connected to the learning standards kids are expected to meet by the end of each grade.
But a program offered through a museum in Utah sought to offer a different kind of virtual science field trip.
With their research assistant notebooks in hand, students could virtually conduct in-depth science investigations on archaeological field sites for the Natural History Museum of Utah (NHMU), study changes happening in the Uinta Mountains, and examine real dinosaur fossils from the world-renowned Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry.
The program, called Research Quest, was designed for middle school students. It uses digitized objects from the museum’s collections and the real-world research and investigations of scientists and educators who work at the NHMU, said Madlyn Larson, director of education initiatives at the NHMU. Through a video, students meet with the Museum’s archaeologist Glenna Nielsen-Grimm; Mitch Power, professor and curator of the Garrett Herbarium; paleontologist Carrie Levitt-Bussian; and they engage in live talks with special guests, like astronaut Scott Kelly.
“Research Quest was kind of envisioned as this bridge that could give teachers and students a way into authentic science investigations, using real data and real objects,” said Larson.
The curators and collection managers here are actively conducting research on things likely to get kids interested, from dinosaur bones to climate change, said Jim Breitinger, the senior manager of marketing at the museum. Bringing that work to life in the classroom is “at the heart of Research Quest,” he said.
Teachers can create an account on Research Quest and select investigations appropriate for their grade level. The series of activities within each investigation are designed to take up to two to three class periods.
Each investigation forces students to analyze data, gather evidence, conduct science experiments and have discussions like real-world scientists — guided by the people who work at the museum.
“They see that this is a real place,” said Larson. “There's this real scientist who studies this and she's giving them some direction. Her videos are used to provide background information, a connection to a real world scientist, she models thinking and she provides some direction for the students.”
The program, Larson said, gives “learners more autonomy” so that “teachers are less of facilitators of activities in the classroom and more of evaluators of learning in their classroom.”
“If the students are busy with the investigation, which has got scientist-led videos and interactives and notebooks, it's all turnkey,” Larson added.
The program, launched in 2013, isn’t new. It was designed in partnership with the Utah Education Network, and each of the investigations are aligned to meet Utah’s English language arts and Science with Engineering Education curriculum standards. Lessons meet Common Core and Next Generation Science standards, according to Larson.
Over the past several years, interest in the program, which is free to schools, has grown. During the pandemic the program saw users logging in from across the U.S. and world, Larson said; nationally, it is now being used by more than 500 teachers. The team said they are expanding, thanks to grants from the National Science Foundation and others, and are planning to partner with other natural history museums across the country.
Send story ideas and news tips to salman@hechingerreport.org. Tweet at @JaveriaSal. Read high-quality news about innovation and inequality in education at The Hechinger Report. And, here’s a list of the latest news and trends in the future of learning.
Was this newsletter forwarded to you?
Click here to subscribe!
The Shortlist 
  1. A guide to leveraging technology in the classroom. As the past year has shown, technology has a big role to play in how learning is delivered, whether schooling is remote or in-person. A new resource from nonprofit Digital Promise offers school leaders a guide on how to effectively, and sustainably, integrate technology into the classroom. The guide includes insight into best practices and lessons other school leaders have learned as part of the Digital Promise’s Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program over seven years. The most successful schools in the program, according to the guide, have six key elements in place: “A strong district and school leadership team; a clear, inclusive, and easily accessible transformation plan; ongoing, embedded professional learning opportunities for teachers; always-available technology and broadband access; support for parents and caregivers; equity as a mindset.”

  2. A new networking platform for education innovators. On Monday, organizations Center for Education Reform and Global Silicon Valley launched edmaven, an online platform for education innovation. The platform will allow for networking opportunities for education innovators, while also serving as a marketplace, connecting ed tech companies and investors with innovators and organizations. The website will use AI technology to help users connect with each other. The site is still in development, and raising funds through the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. During the development phase, edmaven is free for new users, but will eventually be a subscription-based platform.

  3. Forum to host discussion of challenges of learning while under-connected. What were the remote learning challenges of lower-income and under-connected families? What, and how, do they want schools to meet the needs of their children? New America will host a national forum on June 24 that will address these questions. During the event, the findings of an upcoming report, “Learning at Home While Under-Connected: Lower-Income Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” will go live. Audience members will get to hear from parents and students, and panelists (including this writer) who will discuss the implications of the findings and how to act on the new data. The forum will also include a keynote address from Jessica Rosenworcel, the new acting chair of the Federal Communications Commission, and ideas on how to use funding from both the American Rescue Plan and the Emergency Broadband Benefit.
More on the Future of Learning 
‘Una gran familia’: How WhatsApp helped a small Brooklyn school remain a big family in the face of isolation and grief,” Chalkbeat NY
Should rich families be allowed to fundraise a better public school education for their kids? The Hechinger Report
The benefits of speech-to-text technology in all classrooms,” MindShift
Art teachers are teaching girls to code,” Next City
What inclusive learning could and should look like,” New America
You made it to the bottom of this free email. Will you support our nonprofit newsroom with a gift?
Give today to make this message go away.
Copyright © 2021 The Hechinger Report, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you signed up at our website The Hechinger Report.

Our mailing address is:
The Hechinger Report
475 Riverside Drive
Suite 650
New York, NY 10115

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Older messages

PTA funding essentials

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Should richer schools share the wealth This is a weekly newsletter. Sign up for a free subscription, and invite a friend to subscribe. 📬 View this email in your browser Support for this newsletter is

Proof Points: A new experiment turns classrooms into laboratories

Monday, June 14, 2021

Teachers are the researchers to find out what works best for students This is a weekly newsletter. Sign up for a free subscription, and invite a friend to subscribe. View this email in your browser A

Early Childhood: One year later, where does the child care industry stand?

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

New data show 3 percent of child care centers have closed permanently from the pandemic This is a weekly newsletter. Sign up for a free subscription, and invite a friend to subscribe. View this email

Struggle to find skilled labor

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Biden's infrastructure plan would create plenty of jobs, but who will do them? This is a weekly newsletter. Sign up for a free subscription, and invite a friend to subscribe. 📬 View this email in

Proof Points: Weak evidence for small-class spending

Monday, June 7, 2021

Five decades of studies show successes and failures but overall small benefits This is a weekly newsletter. Sign up for a free subscription, and invite a friend to subscribe. View this email in your

Intro to gender data, How Instagram approves nipples, Climate newsletter writer at NYTimes

Sunday, September 19, 2021

The Bloom Issue #60, Sept 19 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

FTI #274: Norm.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

There's so much to learn from a great comedian. How to write. How to communicate. How to persuade. How to be vulnerable. How to be authentic. How to develop a voice. How to be unique. How to stand

Work is infinite, time is finite

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Find time by taking inventory of it. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Ditching “me too” marketing

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Standing still vs. standing out ‌ ‌ ‌ Hey there, There have never been more brands (and more noise) than today. Why should customers pick you? Standing still: The biggest challenge for any business is

🎙️ Find That Pod # 128

Friday, September 17, 2021

ADVERTISEMENT Five Great New Podcasts Welcome to the 128th edition of Find That Pod. 🎁 It's time to give away some stickers. 🎁 Want a sweet FIND THAT POD vinyl sticker? Request one using this form

Say Hi!

Friday, September 17, 2021

Hi friend, It's been about a year since I sent out the first email of this newsletter and there are now over 500 of us learning together! It's been really great. I wanted to take this moment to

US Latinos - non-podcast listeners already listening to spoken word

Friday, September 17, 2021

iVoox launches new podcaster dashboard; Zencastr has a pause removal tool; C13Features signs more Hollywood stars 2 minutes to read · Your daily briefing for podcasting and on-demand, with 20312

12 favorite problems, POP writing & how to ask better questions [Scale Your Impact #58]

Friday, September 17, 2021

Your fill of copywriting, online course, and productivity insights ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

3-2-1: The measure of success, courage, and knowing what you want

Thursday, September 16, 2021

3 ideas, 2 quotes, and 1 question to consider this week. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

It all started with a Zoom call...

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Now, 50 episodes later, we're here to celebrate. Recently, one of our expert L&D guests for CLO Connect said something that really struck a nerve with me. “We don't need to keep anything a