Topic: Teachers College

November 30, 2007

Ball State's award winning Electronic Field Trip (EFT) program will travel to Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dec. 4 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Little Rock Nine.

Without ever leaving the classroom, more than 50,000 schoolchildren in grades 7-12 from 47 states and Washington, D.C., Australia, Canada and Switzerland will visit Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site and its visitor center. Sponsors of the trip are Ball State University, the National Park Foundation and Best Buy Children's Foundation.

The trip, "Commemorating Courage: The Nine Who Made a Difference," is a live interactive 60-minute broadcast that will take students to Central High School and into the lives of the Little Rock Nine — virtually of course — to learn about the struggles they endured while the country fought over desegregation. They will also have the opportunity to call in or e-mail questions to the show's host and special guests, making this a truly interactive experience.

The integration of these nine African American students into Central High School, which was previously an all-white school, stirred up controversy, drew national media attention and was one of the first real tests of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision.

"The EFT program makes for a wonderful outlet to educate children about this monumental event in our country's history," said Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora. "Teaching and technology go hand-and-hand today, and our innovative use of technology allows students participating in an EFT to be fully engaged in what they are studying and creating an experiential learning environment for them."

Spirit Trickey-Rowan, daughter of one of the Little Rock Nine and a park ranger, will host the event while Ernest Green and Minnijean Brown-Trickey, members of the Little Rock Nine, make special guest appearances. Four students from local high schools in Little Rock, Ark., including Central High School, will be on site to help with the EFT.

Many local PBS stations will air the broadcast live, but classrooms can also access the broadcast as well as archived shows on Ball State's EFT Web site,, and on Apple's Learning Interchange Web site,

Remaining 2007-08 field trips will cover:

  • Feb. 26: Migratory patterns and dangers faced by gray whales (grades 3-8)
  • April 1: Smithsonian Kite Festival/study of wind and weather (grades K-5)