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Frequently Asked Questions about Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trips

Questions about the Electronic Field Trip (EFT) Websites

What’s on the EFT Websites?
What are web activities?
What is the email link?
How can my students email their questions?
What is the student vote?
What is the message board?
How do my students post their questions to the Message Board?
What are the "Rules of Engagement" for the Message Boards?
What is the Teacher Guide?
Where can I find the Teacher Guide?
What is the Teacher Roadmap?
What is the Tutorial?
Where can I find the curriculum standards?
What is the Historical Literacy Activity?
What is "Multimedia"?
What is "Read More"?
What is "Links"?
What is "Watch Video Live"?
What is "Watch Video Now"?
What are Question & Answer videos?
Can I get a script of the program?
I see podcasts on the EFT websites. What are they?
Can my students access the EFT websites from home?
I'm concerned about my students' safety on the Internet. How do you protect them online?
Will the EFT websites work in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome?
What software do I need on my computer to access the EFT websites?
How many computers may we use during the broadcast?



What’s on the EFT websites?
Lots of things! All of the video assets for each program reside on the websites. There are also web activities, an e-mail link, online voting, and message boards for students. For teachers, there is a self-guided Tutorial, Teacher Guide with lesson plans, National History Standards for the program, a suggested bibliography, and a list of multimedia Internet links. Many include a historical literacy activity with lesson plans for using primary sources.

What are Web activities?
Web activities are multimedia and interactive explorations that extend student learning. Each activity is designed to enhance and extend a particular aspect of each EFT. Some teachers use these activities as preparation for the live broadcast or watching the video online, while others use the activities to extend learning after viewing the program. The web activities are available for you and your students to use on-demand all year long. The materials connect with curricular units throughout the school year, and you and your students may return to the sites and use them again and again. Give the website username and password to your students, and encourage them to use the activities and resources at home. Have them show their parents the fun and engaging program they are using in your classroom!

What is the email link?
The email link may be used by students to ask questions of characters from the program. The email link is available on the "Interact With Us" page during the week of the live broadcast.

How can my students email their questions?
Please note that the email link is active only during the week of the broadcast.

  1. Enter your username and password to enter the EFT website.
  2. Click on "Interact With Us."

What is the student vote?
The student vote is where students can select a response to two issues from the program. The student vote is accessible on-demand for the entire school year. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation interpreters and historians discuss the issues during the live broadcast.

What is the message board?
The message board is an opportunity for students to ask questions and talk to each other year-round! After posting a question, students may return to the site within 48 hours to read a response from Colonial Williamsburg Foundation historians. Exploring other students’ questions and opinions can be a great way to extend learning.

How do my students post their questions to the Message Board?

To post a new question:

  1. Click on the category that best fits the question or comment.
  2. Click on the "Post new comment" button at the bottom of the page. Type the question into the text box. Students should sign their messages using only their first names.
  3. To view the post prior to submission, click "Preview." To post the message to the board, click "Save."

To comment on an existing message go to the message, click "Reply" under the post, then "Save" to post your new comment.

What are the "Rules of Engagement" for the Message Boards?

The "Rules of Engagement," which may also be accessed via a link on the left side of each message board page, are:

  1. Be polite! Think of the message board like your classroom. If you wouldn’t say it in your classroom, don’t write it on the message board.
  2. Don’t give out personal information. Please don’t post your last name, phone number, email, or address.
  3. Stay on topic. If you want to talk about something else, start a topic of your own and see who else is interested!
  4. Be patient. Historians will do their best to answer your questions within 48 hours—but sometimes we get really busy!
  5. Posts that break the rules will be taken down. We will remove or edit postings that are in violation of our standards. These include, but are not limited to, defamatory or libelous attacks, infringement of copyright, attempts to impersonate another person, any obscene or sexual content, commercial messages, or illegal behavior.

What is the Teacher Guide?
The Teacher Guide includes useful resources such as lesson plans, historical background information, a time line, glossary, and facsimiles of primary source documents and images. Each program has its own Teacher Guide, which is posted under "Teacher Resources" on the EFT website as an Adobe PDF file. You may choose to download the entire teacher guide or access selected sections.

Where can I find the Teacher Guide?

  1. Enter your username and password to enter the EFT website.
  2. Click on "Teacher Resources."
  3. From this page, you may choose to download the entire teacher guide or access selected sections.

What is the Teacher Roadmap?
The Teacher Roadmap, found under "Teacher Resources," summarizes all the pieces involved in the Electronic Field Trip. Here, you can find the big idea, objectives, summaries of the video acts, guiding questions for each act, descriptions of the lesson plans, and summaries of the web activities.

What is the Tutorial?
The Tutorial is a multimedia presentation that explains what an Electronic Field Trip is, how it can be used in the classroom, and how to access and operate the various parts. Following the step-by-step instructions will enable you to use all parts of the EFT effectively. You can go through the tutorial at your own speed and repeat or pause each segment. The tutorial has also has optional closed captioning, which can be accessed by click the "CC" icon in the bottom left-hand corner.

Where can I find the curriculum standards?

  1. Enter your username and password to enter the EFT website.
  2. Click on "Teacher Resources."
  3. From this page, you can access national and state standards including the Common Core State Standards. You can also access them directly here.

What is the Historical Literacy Activity?
The Historical Literacy Activity is a literacy component that is drawn from primary sources –- people of the past speaking "in their own words." It is comprised of classroom lessons and selections from original texts related to the particular topic and are age-appropriate for grades 4 through 8.

What is "Multimedia"?
The website features multimedia links for students in "Student Resources" and multimedia links for teachers in "Teacher Resources." These links connect to podcasts, slideshows, games, time lines, and other interactive media about the topic.

What is "Read More"?
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation educators have created an annotated bibliography for each program, giving teachers and students the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the topics. "Read More" for students is located in "Student Resources and "Read More" for teachers is located under "Teacher Resources."

What is "Links"?
The "Links" page is a list of web pages that provide content related to each program. Take a few minutes to explore the sites and plan how your students can best use them to extend their discovery of each EFT topic.

What is "Watch Video Live"?
On broadcast day, you can watch the Electronic Field Trip video on the "Watch Video Live" page via live streaming. Links to the live program stream will be available beginning 30 minutes prior to each live event.

What is "Watch Video Now"?
An online video of each program is available on-demand throughout the school year. The video provides you and your students with the opportunity to see the pre-recorded portions of the program before the broadcast and all year long. If the live broadcast of a particular EFT does not match your class’s units of study at the time, use the "Watch Video Now" when you reach a unit in your schedule that is more appropriate. Watching the video in advance of the broadcast can help students prepare questions to phone-in during the live broadcast, or can enable you to preview the broadcast before student viewing.

What are Question and Answer videos?
The Question and Answer videos are questions asked by students and answered by characters and historians from the live broadcast. Questions from repeat shows are posted all year. Questions from premiere shows are posted after the broadcast.

Can I get a script of the program?
Yes. Scripts of each program are available on the website in PDF form. A link to the script can be found on the "Teacher Resources" page. Here are a few ideas for using the script:

  • As a literacy exercise, have students read the script before the program.
  • Identify and define difficult words to expand vocabulary.
  • On broadcast day, read part of the script over morning announcements.
  • Act out a scene in class or at a PTA program for the entire school!

Please note that our scripts are copyrighted and should only be used for educational purposes at YOUR school. If you would like to use the script for some other purpose, please contact us.

I see podcasts on the EFT websites. What are they?
Podcasts are audio files that can be played on a computer or portable music player. Colonial Williamsburg’s podcasts take you "behind the scenes" to meet the historians, trades people, interpreters, musicians, and other museum staff. Podcasts that support our EFTs are posted on the EFT websites. For more information on our podcasts, click here.

Can my students access the EFT websites from home?
Yes. The websites may be accessed from anywhere, as long as you have the username and password. We encourage you to share them with your students and have them explore the EFT sites as homework!

I'm concerned about my students' safety on the Internet. How do you protect them online?
Because the EFT websites are password protected, they have a higher level of security than open sites online. All of the EFT websites are free of advertisements. We monitor the message boards to make sure that students post appropriately and are not giving away any personal information online. Posts that do so will be removed.

Will the EFT websites work on Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome?
Yes, the websites work in all four browsers.

What software do I need on my computer to access the EFT Websites?
All of the software needed is available as free downloads via the links listed below. Please check with your school’s IT specialist to make sure you have permission to download software to your computer.

  1. Adobe Reader (PC and Mac users) – to open the Teacher Guide and other PDF documents.
  2. Flash Player (PC and Mac users) – to play the Web activities, watch the video and live stream.
  3. Optionally, you can use Windows Media Player to watch the video and live stream:

How many computers may we use during the broadcast?
Unless your network administrator advises differently, we suggest that you watch streaming video on only one computer at a time. You may use as many computers as you wish to access email, online voting, message boards, and Web activities. For more information, read the FAQ on streaming.



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