There always seems to be a shortage of interesting and educational field trips for computer science programs. My students used to complain regularly that they wanted to go on a computer related field trip. Conferences are generally in the wrong place, too expensive and way over the heads of students. There are companies who will open their doors to student field trips (I’ve helped set up a number of these to Microsoft locations) but often it is hard to make the necessary connections to make these happen. I was reading that Brian Scarbeau is planning on taking his students to one of the Microsoft Windows Vista and Office Launch events in Orlando. That’s a pretty interesting idea I think.
During the months of January and February and a few in March these events are being held all over the country. I know several teachers who have taken students to free events like this in the past. The level of presentation is usually something they can handle. The speakers and demos are generally very good – interesting, professional – and the demos are outstanding. In short they are a good way to show students some new technology and give them an idea of what professional trade events are like. And of course of importance to students there are usually free things to take home. I’ve seen students win big door prizes at some events. Something for everyone. There is educational value, the students have a good time and the cost (mostly just transportation) is lower than a lot of other field trips.
I’m sure that other companies have similar public events that are possibilities. But these are the ones I know about. Something to think about at least. Is anyone else planning a field trip to a launch event?
NOTE: Brian added the following in the comments and I wanted to highlight it:
It’s easier to register a class by calling 1-877-673-8368. Tell them you want to register your class and they will give you a fax number where you can fax them the list of students.
BTW if the IT support people at your school or district don’t know about these events you may want to tell them. I would think they’d welcome the opportunity to hear about what is new in Vista that may make their lives easier.