A “Virtual Field Trip” is an online interaction between students in their classrooms and neuroscientists in their labs. Without the geographical constraints of the typical field trip, The Synapse Project allows classrooms to connect with neuroscientists around the world (via video-chat and online presentations) with a range of interests, research, and demonstrations that would be unavailable in a single location.
Virtual Field Trip of Dr. Sondra Bland’s lab in Denver, CO
Virtual Field Trip of Dr. Sara Lazar’s lab in Boston, MA
What will the “Virtual Field Trip” consist of?
After signing up for a field trip or interview at a set time, classrooms will be able to tour a neuroscientist’s research lab and watch demonstrations and research techniques (via Skype) and also be given the unique opportunity to interview the scientists themselves. Please see the link above to get an idea of what a classroom will see. Each field trip will feature a different lab and neuroscientist. Classrooms can prepare questions, and even ask to see specific demonstrations or tools if available. These Virtual Field Trips can be integrated into curriculum or used in a career-day type setting, or offered as a fun transition to show how certain science and math skills are translated into real jobs.
How do I coordinate a Virtual Field Trip in my classroom?
The Synapse Project will select a variety of different labs and scientists to feature, and if you know of anyone specific interested in showing their lab or being interviewed by a classroom you can send us their information (under the “Contact” tab) and apply to have them join our Virtual Field Trip program. On this page, we will list all available dates that a lab can be visited, and depending on how many classrooms sign up to view, there will be advance notice about which time slot you will be assigned.
What age group will benefit most from a Virtual Field Trip?
Virtual Field Trips can cater to ALL age groups. If a classroom of younger students is interested in a certain lab, the scientists can present information appropriate for them, and provide visuals and technology to keep students interested. If high school, college, or medical school students are interested, the scientist can go into detail about projects they are researching in the lab, show more complex data and technology, and provide a candid description of what goes on in research labs for those interested in a career in neuroscience.
What technology do I need to complete a Virtual Field Trip?
In order to see the lab, you will need a computer with the “Skype” download (as well as a functioning Skype account) and preferably a projector and small speakers for groups more than six people. Skype can be made available in any classroom or auditorium in the school. If this technology is not available, you can still hear the neuroscientist’s interview through an easy and free online conference call system.