Topic: Teachers College

February 21, 2008

Ball State's award-winning Electronic Field Trip (EFT) program gives more than 50,000 schoolchildren in grades 3-8 the chance to follow gray whales during their annual migration from the cold Alaskan waters down to the warm waters near Mexico.

From the comfort of their own classroom, students from all 50 states, Australia, Canada, England, Switzerland and Puerto Rico will make the virtual trip to Laguna San Ignacio, Mexico and San Diego during the live interactive 60-minute broadcast at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. (EST) Feb. 26.

The trip, "A Whale Of A Story: A South Seas Adventure," will get up close and personal with these giant mammals, teaching kids about migration patterns, life cycles and dangers faced by gray whales. During the broadcast, students will have the opportunity to call in, using a toll-free number, or e-mail questions to the show's hosts and experts, making this a truly interactive experience.

"The EFT program is a wonderful innovative teaching tool, and Ball State is proud to bring this science lesson about gray whales to classrooms around the world that would otherwise not have the opportunity to experience these majestic creatures," said Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora. "Technology has become an essential part of a teacher's curriculum, and the university is proud to offer this experiential learning environment for students participating in one of our EFT trips."

In addition to the broadcast, the EFT experience also offers additional content students can participate in before the virtual trip, including:

  • short video packages, called webisodes, that can be viewed online at the EFT Web site or through the iTunes music store
  • a series of age-appropriate classroom activities, developed by teachers who have been immersed in the EFT content
  • a Web site filled with interactive games and activities

Sponsors of the trip include Ball State, Best Buy Children's Foundation, Aquatic Adventures, a nonprofit science education organization that fosters student interest and involvement in marine science, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, one of the oldest centers for marine science research, graduate training and public service in the world.

Marine science educators from Aquatic Adventures will host the event while five students from Monroe Clark Middle School and Hoover High School in San Diego will be on site to help with the EFT.

Many local PBS stations will air the broadcast live, but classrooms can also access the broadcast as well as archived shows on Ball State's EFT Web site,, and on Apple's Learning Interchange Web site,

The remaining field trip for 2007-08 will be the Smithsonian Kite Festival on April 1, and will study wind and weather.