Embark on Virtual Field Trips
How badly is the recession hitting our pocketbooks, you ask?
"TRAVEL BUDGET TIGHT? TAKE KIDS ON VIRTUAL TOURS."
So announces a press release from MeetMeAtTheCorner.org, a Web site that hosts 3- to 4-minute video clips it likes to call virtual field trips. The interesting wrinkle here is that while each featurette is geared toward youngsters ages 7 to 12, the production values are actually quite good and the destinations reliably kid-friendly. Viewers can accompany a boy as he goes birding in New York's Central Park or listen in as a 12-year-old Broadway baby interviews the musical director of "Hairspray." They can "go" to Colorado and hear about a firefighter's job, "visit" a Florida strawberry field or, soon, "travel" to San Francisco for a lesson in growing edible mushrooms.
Donna Guthrie, a children's book author and the site's founder, says that her site was originally designed to appeal to homeschoolers, but that "it's grown way past that." Times being what they are, MeetMeAtTheCorner also doubles as "an inexpensive way to see New York City," among other places.
Of course, no one actually "goes" anywhere, and to be honest, it's a little depressing that virtual tourism is increasingly substituting for the real thing. But it's hard to disagree with Guthrie's assessment that her videos are "a good preview of the real thing," something to keep the kids occupied while their parents are saving up for something beyond the virtual.
By Christina Talcott |
December 18, 2008; 11:03 AM ET
The Odd File
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