As Gas Prices Rise, Field Trips Go Virtual
Online outings 'can be the next best thing,' educator says
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2008 2:08 PM CDT
Rising fuel prices are forcing many schools to look for other options to provide students with unique learning opportunities.   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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(Newser) – More school buses are being left in park these days, thanks to rising fuel prices and technology that lets students go on “virtual field trips.” “If you can’t go somewhere, this can be the next best thing,” said one administrator, as schools enjoy low teleconferencing costs and help from institutions ranging from NASA to the Bronx Zoo.

More than 1 million students have participated, chatting with Great Barrier Reef divers and practicing Spanish with Costa Rican kids. But one expert insists the virtual trips should be used only to supplement traditional outings for students: “What they need most is the hands-dirty, feet-wet experience in nature," he said.