7 Creative Options for a Virtual Field Trip
Due to the pressures of permission slips and pricing, field trips can be a pain to coordinate. Fortunately, there is a way to take an educational journey without the obstacles a field trip might supply. Virtual field trips enable classes to travel throughout history and across the globe free of charge and in the comfort of their own classroom. With the power of the internet working alongside teacher guidance, virtual field trips provide an entertaining educational experience on any topic for students of all ages. Why lecture a classroom of blank stares when you can help your students embark upon an interactive experience?
Located in Paris, the Louvre is one of the largest museums in the world as well as a French historical monument. Containing artifacts dating all the way back to the Middle Ages, the Louvre is a bucket list museum for many, but flying to Paris just for a museum would not be feasible. Luckily, the Louvre offers a few online exhibits for curious individuals to scrutinize. Visitors of the online museum have a virtual ticket to “Egyptian Antiquities,” the “Mona Lisa,” the “Venus de Milo” and the remains of the basement moat. A virtual field trip into Paris’ past could provide a class with knowledge of the history of the Louvre, along with descriptions of all exhibits in addition to those provided online. Using an interactive map, viewers can travel through various rooms and zoom in on certain artifacts if they desire further information.
Teaching students about American history can often elicit eye rolls of disinterest. Students’ habit of looking towards the future may distract from a desire to learn about the past. Williamsburg’s early spot on the American timeline gives it a great deal of history that has the potential to trigger student interest. Colonial Williamsburg, located in Virginia, can be visited in the classroom via a virtual field trip through the Colonial Williamsburg website. On the site, students can choose their path and explore the online museums or take a look at the kid’s section, where they can tour the town through a virtual map. Each highlighted section on the map allows visitors to look through pictures and read descriptions of each point. Visiting Williamsburg is like taking a trip back in time, and through a virtual field trip, your class can do the same. Click through the history of clothing, explore the past of coins and currency or even discover the meaning behind the portrait of George Washington. A virtual field trip to Colonial Williamsburg will leave your class curious to learn more about the town. For a younger crowd, the site features a kid’s zone featuring games to enhance the online experience.
Artists and artwork appear far more interesting when the experience is interactive. Rather than looking at pictures of paintings through Google Images, many schools opt to take trips to an art museum in an attempt to grab student interest. While there may not always be an art museum nearby, Google Arts & Culture is available to enhance the art experience without leaving the classroom. Hundreds of artists’ paintings and histories are ready to be taught through online exhibits. Students can get as up-close and personal with the paintings as they desire without a security guard to tell them “no.” Google Arts & Culture has no limit to how much a visitor can zoom in, revealing the textures and brush strokes of each painting. Every color chosen and texture developed held a purpose for the artist, and Google Arts & Culture can guide students to mold their own opinion about the artwork. Explanations of each item in a painting provide insight on the artist’s decisions. Google Arts & Culture is a virtual field trip that can be used anywhere from a supplementary slideshow to a complete lesson on an artist and his or her work. No matter the age of the students, it is flexible enough to meet a teacher’s needs.
If you eat, you are a part of agriculture. The process of how food goes from farm to table is becoming more and more of a mystery to people. Although agriculture plays a large role in human survival, individuals still tend to neglect the importance of farms. Spend the day at the farm and discover agriculture with Farm Food 360. Through the program, visitors can become a part of the farm-to-table process. Farm Food 360 is a virtual field trip that allows students to choose what they would like to learn about. Covering subjects from fruit, egg and vegetable farms to goat, beef and veal farms, Farm Food 360 walks viewers through the steps of the farming process. Through the interactive website, students have the opportunity to click through each location of the farm to discover why each step is taken and where it occurs. An educational day spent at the farm without the stench of manure is the perfect virtual field trip experience for classes of all ages.
Outer space is enough of a mystery to experts. Therefore, astronomy can be a daunting subject to tackle in the classroom. To take on the subject of space beyond the atmosphere, Google Earth can help provide a unique virtual field trip experience. Using Google Earth 5.0, any class can travel to infinity and beyond. Newly updated technologies allow Google Earth to provide a hands-on experience where students can take a deeper look at stars, constellations, galaxies, planets, the moon and any other topic that may elicit questions. Fortuitously, the exploration does not have to stop at the click-and-drag, 360-degree visuals. The interactive trip into outer space allows users to click on any point throughout map. At each point, highlighted markers pull up additional facts, pictures, history and videos that can enhance the educational experience. Detailed diagrams of constellations willspark student interest in the night sky and help them apply information from the classroom to the real world. With numerous layers of information, the Google Earth virtual field trip can be made suitable for students of all ages.
Around the World
Virtual field trips do not have to be limited to museums. In fact, they do not even have to be confined to the boundaries of the United States. A virtual field trip enables travel across the globe and to multiple countries in one day, minus the price and time commitment of travel. Using Youvisit.com, hundreds of educational destinations are available at your fingertips. Take a class to explore the seven wonders of the world, stop by a college campus to spark excitement or even take a walk through the history of a destination without physically being there. Youvisit.com is ready to provide 360-degree views enhanced by information on a diverse selection of destinations. Fly all the way to Machu Picchu in Peru and marvel at the architecture of the abandoned city while indulging in facts the site provides. Take a field trip into the Cisco operations center to learn more about how the company works. Help students understand the Syrian crisis through pictures and interviews. Youvisit.com allows students to explore countries, cities and landmarks across the globe.
Virtual field trips can take you all across the world, into the stars and right down the street without opening your door. Surprisingly enough, they can even go one step further than outer space. Virtual field trips can even take you into the fictional world of literature. Students often dread required readings due to the literary challenges they may have to analyze, but with Google Lit Trips, students can dive headfirst into a novel and experience it rather than reading it. By utilizing Google Lit Trips, classes have the opportunity to take or recreate the journey of any literary character. Face a daunting novel like Their Eyes Were Watching God while traveling right alongside Janie and experience the south through the same eyes she does in the novel. Assign a class the task of creating a virtual field trip for a novel they have already read. The experience can be completely personalized and done atany pace. With a Google Lit Trip, a mundane novel can be given a spark of life, leading students to become more interested and invested. Whatever the need, Google Lit Trips are a great way to take your class on the road to a destination that cannot be accessed by travel, all from the comfort of a classroom.
Even on a rainy day, a virtual field trip can turn a classroom full of lifeless students into an educational adventure. Travel anywhere in the world, into a novel and through time without spending a cent or wasting a minute. The stress of traveling should not deter from providing the best learning experience possible. Do not just tell the students about a topic, show it to them by taking advantage of virtual field trips.