Tapped In Member Perspectives: Meet Kim Foley

Kim Foley is a researcher working at the Field Trips web site in Spokane, Washington. Kim leads the monthly "Virtual Field Trips with www.field-trips.org" and the monthly "Creating Virtual Field Trips" After School Online discussions at TAPPED IN.

Kim's Perspective

In the early 80s, I worked in film and video with a side interest in computers. As technology moved ahead, video and computers became entwined. In the late 80s I pursued a graduate degree at MIT's Media Lab. I got involved in creating and producing interactive projects and educational software. Wearing many hats, I was senior instructor at the first company to develop digital video editing software, adjunct professor teaching web design at the University of Massachusetts, digital video editor, and producer/co-author of multimedia textbooks for Prentice-Hall and McGraw-Hill, to name a few. In 1996 I co-founded a startup called Tramline. We developed TourMaker software for creating virtual field trips with the goal to create some order out of the chaos of the web. We also developed a site of virtual field trips (initially known as Virtual Field Trips Site, then shortened to Field Trips Site) that educators could use in their classrooms, and students could use at home.

Despite the fact that I have been heavily immersed in technology, I am one of those people who simultaneously resist it. If it does not have a practical use in my life, I do not want to invest my time and energy. For instance, though I have been using email for 15 years, I have steered clear of chat rooms. It just did not hold any interest for me. That is, until I discovered TAPPED IN. I finally saw a practical and excellent use of the chat functionality.

My introduction to TAPPED IN came as a result of being asked to play a supporting role when someone else was demonstrating field trips they had created using our TourMaker software. I was awed by the power of TAPPED IN and the enthusiasm of the participants was contagious. Eventually, I decided I would like to use TAPPED IN, which brings me to the present. I offer two monthly sessions at TAPPED IN: one on using TourMaker software and the other on using the field trips at the Field Trips Site. The goal is to inform teachers of an easy to use tool and resources that can make their classroom Internet use more productive.

Teaching TourMaker online looked like it might present a challenge (and it does) but in the few months I have been offering the sessions, the participants have been very enthusiastic and watching people "get it" is a blast. Also, I cannot say enough about the Help Desk/support people at TAPPED IN. They are welcoming, encouraging, knowledgeable, and well-supportive!

One last note. I have just completed a new book titled, "The Big Pocket Guide to Using & Creating Virtual Field Trips." You can find out about TourMaker, the field trips, and my book at http://www.field-trips.org.