What electronic tools may be useful to enrich an international trip?
You may communicate and produce media before, during, and after a trip. Here are some available tools and ideas. Always, the key to a powerful experience lies in the human component. With whom are you communicating? What experiences are you capturing? Who is your audience? What is the purpose of the communication? Once you have selected your goals, then pick the tool that matches best.
Blogging provides a quiet space for students and teachers to record and reflect on their experiences at length. This can be helpful for students to process their experience by retelling it, and for students to have a record of their experience to refer to later (like a diary). Parents and other interested community members can follow the blog from a distance, helping us understand the travelers' experiences. You may invite comments if you want to facilitate a discussion of each post.
If you choose to blog on the Catlin Gabel web sites, then we may keep a record of the experience for others to easily find and view in the future.
Example: Martinique chat
Discussion forums are organized around topics, whereas blogs are organized around individuals. A forum may be more useful for getting two whole classes of students together.
Example: Costa Rica '08
Photo galleries help people get a visual idea of your trip experience. You may add photos from your computer through the Catlin Gabel web site. Ask Kitty or Richard to explain how.
Podcast By Phone
Example and instructions: Costa Rica '08
This can be useful to report back on a trip to an audience at home. Let Kitty know so that we may link interested people to a podcast page. Podcasting limits the ability of people to reply, preserving the isolation of the foreign experience.
Example: Gaza chat
Skype allows you to have a video-enabled live chat with people in another country for free. Improvements in bandwidth now allow us to Skype to developing nations or politically unstable places (like Gaza city). The visual, interactive experience is extremely powerful for kids, who keenly want to know what people are like at the other end.
Example: Costa Rica '08 (ask Spencer)
Take a set of ten portable audio recorders on your trip and encourage students to keep their own audio diary and capture the sounds of the world around them. Students may then assemble these into a presentation upon return or just keep them for later reflection. The capture of primary source materials during the trip can be a powerful memory trigger later on.
Take a set of ten portable video recorders on your trip and encourage students to keep their own video diary and capture the images of the world around them. Students may then assemble these into an individual or group presentation upon return or just keep the footage for later reflection.
Blogs, live cameras, and foreign newspapers can be a valuable source of pre- and post-trip information.