The AR Project timeline that I have posted is updated and shows my cycle 1 and cycle 2 activities rapidly approaching. Since our 2010-2011 school year is mere weeks away from beginning, I find myself spending more time preparing to run AR cycles than I am preparing for a new school year. I laughingly shared with my critical friends that it seems like the only reason I am so excited about school starting is because of the upcoming AR Project that I get to execute. The cycle 1 component will be executed in less than four weeks and I find myself spending some time out of every day finding components that I can use for it. I am creating one virtual field trip for each of the 2 cycles that I will run, and the first one is nearing completion. The second is about fifty percent complete at this point. I hope to have it eighty percent complete by the time the first cycle is run. This should leave enough room to make changes and improvements that need to be made based on what is learned during the first cycle.
I have found several unexpected surprises during the creation of the cycle 1 virtual field trip. One of my critical friends suggested that I avoid looking at other examples of virtual field trips so that I do not allow the exposure to influence my own creations. I think this was great advice. As I near completion of my VFT I am looking forward to finally visiting some of the web sites and teacher shared virtual field trips found online. I expect to see some material and ideas that I already included, but I am more excited to see how much original material I was able to add because of the fresh perspective that I maintained.
Luckily, I have several children of my own that I am able to use as guinea pigs so that I can gage my future participant’s reactions to the media I am creating. So far, I have been getting rave reviews from my guinea pigs. When they ask questions that demonstrate a weakness in the VFT, I am able to tweak it before I unleash it on an entire class. For instance, a question came up about the pedagogical coach I was using. I’d created a school bus that talked to the students and guided them, and my guinea pigs wondered why a school bus was the character. It seemed fieldtrip themed to me, but the pre-participants did not get the connection, so I am switching pedagogical coach that fits with our first VFT destination.