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Frequently Asked Questions about Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trips

Questions about the Television Broadcast

How do I find a broadcaster in my area?
I don’t have a broadcaster in my area. Can I still participate in the live program?
When are the broadcasts?
How long are the broadcasts?
How can my students participate in the broadcast?
How do my students phone in questions?
Why don’t my students’ questions get on air?
What is closed captioning and how can I use it?
What is audio description and how can I use it?
How can I get a broadcaster in my area?
If my class can't watch the EFT on broadcast day, will I still be able to use it?
What equipment do I need to participate in an EFT on broadcast day?
I saw students asking video questions. How can my students do that?
May we record the broadcast?
I forgot to record the broadcast. May I order a DVD and have it sent to me?
Will I automatically receive a DVD of the program?


How do I find a broadcaster in my area?
Your local Public Television Station or cable provider may broadcast Electronic Field Trips. This page will help you determine if a broadcaster in your state carries Colonial Williamsburg EFTs. Remember to check the listings for neighboring states, as broadcast areas often cross state lines, and cable providers may offer multiple Public Television Stations. Please contact your broadcaster after the program airs. Let them know you have used the program and appreciate their assistance!

I don’t have a broadcaster in my area. Can I still participate in the live program?
Yes! We also provide the program via live video stream on your computer. For more information, see the FAQ section on streaming.

When are the broadcasts?

2013-14 Series
The Bill of Rights October 10, 2013
The Balance of Power November 7, 2013
Women of the Revolution December 12, 2013
The Amazing Trade Shop Math Race! January 16, 2014
Harsh World, This World February 13, 2014
Civil War Ironclads March 13, 2014
The War of 1812 April 10, 2014

Broadcasts are always on Thursdays. We air two broadcasts on each day, one at 10:00 AM Eastern Time and one at 1:00 PM Eastern Time. Both broadcasts are live.

How long are the broadcasts?
Each broadcast is 58 minutes in length.

How can my students participate in the live broadcast?
Your students may participate in several ways. Any time during the school year, they can post questions on the message board or take part in the online voting. Prior to the broadcast, they can submit a video question. During the week of the broadcast, they can email a historical figure through each EFT's website. On broadcast day, they can phone in questions during the broadcast and for one hour afterward. Students may also tweet questions and comments @EFT_CW, and text answers to instant feedback polls presented during the broadcast.

How do my students phone in questions?

  • A message will appear on the TV screen when it is time to begin calling. The toll-free number is on the Numbers to Remember sheet and will not be shown on the screen.
  • Students should be prepared to give their questions to the operator. Some questions will go directly to an expert or historian; others will go into the line-up to go on the air.
  • If your student’s question is in the line-up to go on the air, he or she will be placed on hold. Don’t hang up! Students will be able to hear the program through the telephone. Sometimes calls will be held over from one segment to the next.
  • Time is extremely limited, so the student who is asking the question (not the teacher) must be on the phone when the operator answers.
  • It is very important to turn down the volume of the TV in the classroom when your student is on the air with a question. Otherwise, feedback will make it difficult to hear!
  • Students must listen for their name to be called OVER THE PHONE, not on the program itself, because there is a time delay. When the student hears their name OVER THE PHONE, he or she should ask the question in a strong, clear voice.
  • We will answer calls during the broadcast and for one hour afterward. Call volume is often lower after the broadcast, so take advantage of this additional hour to speak to our historians and experts!

Why didn’t my students’ questions get on air?
We make every effort to answer as many calls as possible on the air! Make sure your students have more than one question ready, in case the first question has already been asked. Calls can only be accepted from students. The better the question, the more likely the student is to get on the air! Remember, you can still call and talk with our historians for one hour after each broadcast.

What is closed captioning and how can I use it?
Closed captioning is text that appears on the TV screen in real time, showing dialogue, sound effects, music, and other sounds. All of the live broadcasts are closed-captioned. Many teachers find that closed captioning can be helpful for students who speak English as a second language or have learning disabilities, or for all students as a literacy exercise. We even have some ideas for how to use captioning in the classroom. Most televisions made after 1993 have the ability to show closed captioning. Closed captioning can usually be turned on using the menu on your TV or by using the CC button on your remote control. Refer to your television manual for instructions.

What is audio description and how can I use it?
Audio descriptions allow visually impaired students to access content that is normally not available to them just by listening to the program. Between the dialogue, narrators describe actions, gestures, scene changes, or text that may appear on the screen. All of our TV broadcasts have audio descriptions, which are available on your television’s Secondary Audio Program channel, or SAP channel. If your TV was made after 1995, it probably has SAP options as long as the sound is stereo rather than mono. Often, SAP can be enabled through the menu on your TV. Consult your user's manual for directions.

How can I get a broadcaster in my area?
If there is no broadcaster in your area, check your local public television station's website or your local phone book to contact the station manager. We have found that stations are most likely to distribute our programs when teachers from their viewing audience request the coverage. We are more than happy to work with the station to answer any questions or concerns.

If my class can't watch the EFT on broadcast day, will I still be able to use it?
Yes. You may record a copy of the live broadcast to add to your school's library. You can access the video acts online at any time during the school year by going to "Watch Video Now" on the EFT website. Other online resources for teachers and students, including teacher's guide, online vote, and message board, are also available for the entire school year.

What equipment do I need to participate in an EFT on broadcast day?

  1. TV – for watching the live broadcast. You will also need to check for a broadcaster in your area.
  2. Computer with Internet connection – for student use of email, message board, Twitter, online voting, and instant feedback polls. If you do not have a broadcaster, you can use your computer and a projector or interactive whiteboard to view the broadcast using video streaming.Learn more about computer requirements.
  3. Phone – for students to call in their questions. Answers to instant feedback polls can also be submitted by text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

I saw students asking video questions. How can my students do that?
We encourage students to submit video questions to us for possible inclusion on the show. With parental permission, students can now upload their video questions to YouTube. Teachers can also email us individual video files or mail us a data CD or DVD. For more information, contact Associate Producer Jen Garrott at jgarrott@cwf.org or 757-565-8525. All video questions must be submitted with a signed consent form. The guidelines for submission can be found on the FAQ: Submitting Video Questions page.

May we record the broadcast?
If you have subscribed to the Colonial Williamsburg EFTs, then you are licensed to record one copy of the broadcast for educational use and one copy for archival purposes.

I forgot to record the broadcast. May I order a DVD and have it sent to me?
Yes. Teachers from registered schools may order a DVD of the broadcast for $19.95 plus shipping. To order, please call us at 1-800-761-8331 or email us at EFTSupport@cwf.org. If you are using a purchase order, please fax it to 757-565-8044.

Will I automatically receive a DVD of the program?
No. DVDs are available for purchase by teachers in registered schools at $19.95 each plus shipping. To order, please call us at 1-800-761-8331 or email us at EFTSupport@cwf.org. If you are using a purchase order, please fax it to 757-565-8044.



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