Distance Learning Technologies

Posted: January 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

Example 2: Interactive Tour

The scenario:

A high school history teacher, located on the west coast of the United States, wants to showcase to her students new exhibits being held at two prominent New York City museums. The teacher wants her students to take a “tour” of the museums and be able to interact with the museum curators, as well as see the artwork on display. Afterward, the teacher would like to choose two pieces of artwork from each exhibit and have the students participate in a group critique of the individual work of art. As a novice of distance learning and distance learning technologies, the teacher turned to the school district’s instructional designer for assistance. In the role of the instructional designer, what distance learning technologies would you suggest the teacher use to provide the best learning experience for her students?

Technology Presentation Solutions

To provide these west coast students the opportunity to visit new exhibits at two prominent New York City museums, I would suggest that the teacher uses a video podcast or a virtual tour of the museums.  “Podcasting is the process of recording and storing audio and/or video content on the Internet for downloading and play back using iPods, MP3 players, [and] computers” (p.130) (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).  A video podcast can be used to show a tour of the museums with audio from a tour guide.  The students will have the ability to play, stop, and rewind the tour to meet the speed of their learning, and to go back and review important exhibits.  Several studies indicate that students who participate in podcasts exhibit higher levels of understanding, higher satisfaction, and greater motivation (The Technology of Distance Education, n.d.).  I would suggest that the teacher reserves a lab classroom for the students to access the podcast.

If possible, instead of a podcast, the teacher could use a virtual tour of the museums.  The museums would need to provide a link to the tour, and the students would need the same capabilities as a podcast to access the virtual tour.  According to Simonson et al (2012), “virtual worlds will represent the standard learning environments at some point in our future” (p.132).  A virtual tour would put the students into the museums and make them feel they are there.  It gives them the capability of looking at new exhibits in a New York City museum, even though they are sitting in their classrooms thousands of miles away.  According to Wetterlund (2008), art museums are providing educational programs to bring the museum to the classroom.  These online tours will strengthen students’ visual literacy and critical thinking skills and providing a deeper understanding of art and the history that goes with it.


Technology Communication Solutions

To interact with the museum tour curators I would suggest a live text chat for the students.  A live chat would give the students immediate feedback for questions that may arise during the tour.  This two-way communication tool would be an effective learning tool in a synchronous environment, where the students are logging on and watching the tour at the same time as the curator(s) (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).  The students would just have to type their question into the instant message box, and the curator(s) would answer them in the order they were received.  According to Matteson, Salamon, and Brewster (2011), users are generally satisfied with live-chat because their questions are answered quickly and efficiently.  The answers are rich in information, and the user gains insightful knowledge from the curator on the other side of the chat.

Afterward the teacher wants to choose two pieces of artwork from each museum, and have the students participate in a group critique of the individual work of art.  I would suggest for the teacher to research two artwork pieces from the museum, and create a wiki for the students to discuss the artwork with one another.  Wiki’s are designed to be created and edited by groups of people (Siminson, Smaldino, Albright, Zvacek, 2012).  They are created for the students to collaborate with the teacher and other students about a given topic or title.  I would suggest for the teacher to create the wiki with a picture of the artwork and a simple discussion prompt.  Then the students can discuss the artwork with each other, and the teacher can respond and provide feedback as well.


Matteson, M., Salamon, J., Brewster, L. (2011).  A systematic review of research on live chat service. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 51(2), 172-190. Retrieved from Education Research Complete.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

The technology of distance education (multimedia program) Laureate Education Inc.

Wetterlund, K. (2008). Flipping the field trip: Bringing the art museum to the classroom. Theory into Practice, 47(2), 110-117. Retrieved form Education Research Complete.


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