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Students take field trip to virtual rain forest without leaving the classroom

By Anne McIlroy, Science Reporter for the Globe and Mail on December 20, 2011

Students experience virtual nature.

Cris’s subsequent Letter to the Editor “Wow Factor”

Your December 21, 2011 article “Students tour virtual rainforest – complete with all the bugs – without leaving class” certainly meets the “Wow Factor” for advances in education technology, but do children actually learn anything from this experience, or is it just a really cool technology application? Studies also show that increasing exposure to technology impairs attention and learning by short circuiting the frontal cortex. Exposure to nature’s “green space” is attention restorative and enhances learning, but what about virtual nature? Maybe the attention restorative aspects of nature will counteract the attention deficits aspects of technology, but then what’s the point if the child doesn’t learn anything. Answering the salient question “Can technology teach?” with evidenced –based research, might be a fiscally wise endeavor for educational institutions.