Can virtual field trips instill a real-life sense of wonder?
It doesn't seem possible. But a story in today's Sacramento Bee, "Schools substituting field trips with video links," shows schools must settle for video-conference field trips.
That's exactly why California's kids need Assembly Bill 2989. (Felipe Fuentes). Sponsored by Sierra Club California, bill would award grants for outdoor education and recreational opportunities for youth. The Outdoor Environmental Education and Recreation Program it creates would help California kids explore rivers, forests and streams in real life - not virtual reality.
Kids don't need more time in front of an electronic screen. They're already six times more likely to play a video game than to ride a bike. Fewer than 15 percent of them participate in an outdoor education and recreation program.
Young minds expand outdoors. At-risk children who participated in outdoor education programs upped their science test scores by 27 percent, improved their conflict resolution and problem-solving skills and went back to school with better self-esteem and motivation to learn, according to a 2005 California Department of Education study.
AB 2989 will open doors for children, and introduce them to California's natural wonders. Tell your Assemblymember you support this key measure.