Five Members Spring Into Digital Learning Day

Five ASTC-member institutions are participating in a rare, day-long, live showcase of distance-learning programs on Tuesday, March 20. Find out more below and discover how you can tune in and join the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Roper Mountain Science Center, University of Nebraska State Museum, and many other organizations.

Virtual field trips, distance learning, virtual excursions . . . known by many different names, interactive videoconferencing (IVC) has become a great mechanism for science centers and museums to reach beyond their region—even across the world—and facilitate informal learning with students and teachers outside the institution’s walls.

Using green-screen effects, animations, live experiments, real artifacts and exhibits, kinesthetic activities, and storytelling, content providers make science come alive for their audiences in a unique way. ASTC members and partners have been involved in interactive videoconferencing for decades, but Tuesday, March 20, is one of the rare occasions when multiple sites come together in a united front to share their content during the Spring Into Digital Learning Day.

Below are some descriptions from participants about their organizations’ programs and some of what’s coming up. For more information on interactive videoconferencing, please write to me.



In June of 2015 a group of science center and museum educators attending the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration’s (CILC) Content Provider Gathering, formed the Pinnacle Education Collaborative (PEC). The mission of PEC is to collaborate with each other on best practices in distance learning and raise awareness in the global education community of the plethora of engaging, interactive content created by these organizations for schools.

In PEC’s first three years, several festivals were held offering discounted programs through CILC. For 2018, the group decided to host Spring Into Digital Learning Day. This series of free programs includes three tracks of programming, much of it focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It will be delivered over live streaming video with multiple sites connected at one time. CILC is excited that to date they have more than 80 sites registered to participate! If you would like to sit in on one or more of these sessions, register here.

—Jan Zanetis, Managing Director, CILC



The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum has been providing distance learning for more than 10 years. Our science and math programs are curriculum-based, high energy, and most importantly, hands-on! Participating in an event like “Spring Into Digital Learning Day” helps to benefit not just our museum’s programming but distance learning in general. The more people learn about the great programs that are available and how easy the technology can be to use, the more interest that will be generated for all content providers! Check out how we use distance learning to get science into the hands of students at our “Try This At Home” session at 1:00 p.m. ET during the events on Wednesday, March 20. Learn more about our programming at or find us on!

—Corrina Strecker, Senior Education Manager, Distance Learning & Yankee Air Museum Partnership, Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum



Roper Mountain Science Center is located in Greenville, South Carolina, and offers programs for Greenville County Public School students as well as local surrounding school districts in person. The virtual field trip department was developed in 2007 as a way to expand our reach and engage with students who otherwise might not be able to visit Roper Mountain in person. Students get to visit our Living History Farm, Harrison Hall of Natural Science, and travel to Mars through our program offerings. To date, we have three highly successful social studies and three high-quality science programs that we offer for schools. We are currently developing more programs to support the needs of students in the Greenville County School System and beyond. Students from as far away as Canada, California, and New York have attended programs through our virtual field trip department. We are very excited to continue to offer high-quality programs that blend content and engagement to students all over North America. Virtual field trips are a wonderful way for museums to offer programs and provide opportunities for students to participate in rich learning experiences without the travel time. Students and schools love our virtual field trips at Roper Mountain because they are engaging, are content based, support students’ learning needs, provide students with knowledge in a unique way, and provide an opportunity for students to experience a fun alternative to traditional classes.

—Jasmin Poor, Virtual Field Trip Teacher/Coordinator, Roper Mountain Science Center



The goal of the University of Nebraska State Museum’s virtual field trip (VFT) program is to knock down our walls to extend our mission reach of promoting scientific curiosity and literacy. We hold our VFT programs in our galleries as we use our exhibits as our main teaching tools. We have a joke here about how we still wash our hands after a VFT as there is so little difference in the feel of working with kids virtually versus in the same room! I love it when I say, “Let’s take a closer look” and can zoom the camera in for a perspective you cannot get in person. Every person watching always says “Ohhhhh!” We have four years under our belt and are growing rapidly in both our audiences and our variety of programs. We are so very excited to expand our reach and introduce the natural world as seen through a Nebraska lens during the CILC Digital Day extravaganza!

—Annie Mumgaard, Virtual Learning Educator/Coordinator, University of Nebraska State Museum


CILC is home to 180 content providers, from museums to science centers, aquariums and zoos. They share their wonderful programming with 50,000 educator members and provide an easy way for them to schedule programs. We invite you to become a part of the CILC family by starting here.


ASTC and some of its members also sit on the committee for the International Society for Technology in Education’s Interactive Videoconferencing Professional Learning Network (ISTE IVC PLN). Join in the discussion and year-round events for educators from both in and out of the classroom.