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The Art of Teaching through Authentic Learning: Virtual Field Trips and Worlds


  1. A compelling vision, Sarah, and what that is being realized in so many other dimensions of the lives of our young people, and in our own lives.

    But our schools seem to be so resistant to opening the windows, let alone the doors, to wholesale use of these resources and the accompanying pedagogies that you suggest. I think if we can get to the “why” surrounding this resistance, there might be hope in overcoming it.

    I recall being very excited in 1993 when our school became part of the first Canadian Schoolnet initiative. I had signs all over our school proclaiiming that “the walls of our school” were about to come tumbling down. I had a map in the front foyer pinpointing the geographical origin of all of the emails that we had received since September. We used a 14.4 baud modem…and a few of us were pretty pumped about the possibilities.

    I realize that interfaces have changed, the amount of information and the number of potential relationships at our fingertips have grown exponentially in the past 20 years, but there is still this stubborn resistance to anything but small pockets of this type of vision and implementation.

    I think its still very possible, but how to break down the walls of resistance?

    I realize that I probably sound like an old guy who is saying, “been there, tried that.” I’m not (at least not the latter), but how do we get to that “horizon” where, as Jacques Cool would suggest, the ground meets the sky.

    Are there assumptions that we continue to make about what counts as teaching? learning? Who is allowed to be teacher? When learning is allowed to take place for it to matter?

    I would love to continue this conversation!

    • Maggie Bell /

      How refreshing to read your thoughts. I have just finished a heated discussion on why we should spend a lot of money on an excursion to the zoo- yet again for these students. Surely students could pursue their own line of inquiry via the www. Our task as teachers should be to help them be critical about where and what info they found, and then to supplier them with what they wish to do with the info they find. Sharing findings to other learning networks should be a responsibility for them to develop as well. Thanks again.

  2. Maggie Bell /

    Enjoyed your thoughts- I am trying to get teachers to envisage what future learning might look like and what it might entail from the point of view of both teachers and students. We keep talking about collaborative learning and learning networks and student inquiry learning but so far these are just terms and not understood enough to be put into teacher practice. I am now into my 60′s but find many of my much younger colleagues stuck in the age old teaching and learning practices.

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