In California, videoconference technology replaces field trips

Fifth-graders at Kingswood Elementary School in Sacramento peered into tide pools, listened to crashing waves and peppered a park ranger with questions – all without leaving their classroom in Citrus Heights.

Through a live videoconference last week, the students "visited" Crystal Cove State Park on the coast of Orange County. Ranger Jennifer Langer – surrounded by cameras on the rocky shore – taught a lesson on tide-pool ecology over the large screen at the front of Room 13.

The videoconferencing technology allows schools to introduce students to places they might otherwise not see. Most of the Kingswood fifth-graders had never been to a real tide pool. Many had never been to the ocean.

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