Student Produced Video Field Trips


2 - Before: Off-site Planning ↓

Before you announce and plan the entire video field trip, make sure you have a site that will work. If possible, involve some students in helping you check out the location. That way they will know how to help another teacher with this process in the future.

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Select location: within walking distance or a low-cost alternative. ↓

Some possibilities, depending on your curriculum:

  • a performance space within your school (school play, concert)
  • an outdoor location on school grounds, such as a garden, nature trail, animal habitat, recycling area, composting bin
  • a nearby historic site or street
  • local government site
  • scientific lab or research site
  • art gallery or artist studio
  • another school in your district, perhaps at another level
  • a cultural site or location where people speak another language
  • an area restaurant or bookstore hosting an author
  • an academic, spelling bee, or debate competition
  • a science fair or history day competition
  • an historic cemetery
  • a landfill
  • a pond, stream, or fish hatchery
  • a farm or park

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Conduct field test: signal strength, noise, etc. ↓

Do a preliminary test with the mobile device and streaming service you hope to use. Check signal strength of your connection to the Internet. Use a tool such as InternetFrog to test speed. Run a test recording at the same time of day to discover speed issues and/or potential problems with background noise.

Lighting can be a challenge in some indoor locations. Take your camera with you to see what a clip of video looks like under available light. Ideally, you do not want to have to haul lights with you! Be especially aware of bright windows in the background that may "fool" the camera into making the indoor scene very dark. Be sure you will be able to aim the camera to avoid such high contrasts in lighting.

If students are available to help with the field test, have them sketch out the layout of the scene so they can explain it in advance to the rest of the video team.

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Finalize approvals for site access ↓

If you are on property other than school, be sure to talk to the manager or owner to obtain permission for your event. Business owners and private property owners can become nervous when they see unexplained video cameras. Be sure to explain the instructional reasons and how many students will benefit from allowing video from this site. Offer to highlight the business's name (and be sure to DO so!). If you plan to seek media coverage, be sure to point out the positive publicity they will gain from this event.

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Photos taken during a video field trip by Merriwether Lewis Elementary, Portland, Oregon in celebration of Earth Day 2009.