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Learning Environment Technology

A Guide to Virtual Field Trips for Enhancing the Learning Journey

Move beyond the walls of the classroom without having to physically leave it via virtual field trips.

Making the learning journey a memorable one where students are able to broaden their horizons is something teachers strive to do. If budgets and logistics weren’t part of the equation, any and all curriculums could benefit from visiting a variety of locations and exploring all they have to offer. Field trips are often the first to go when budget cuts are required, but they don’t have to be any longer. By introducing virtual field trips to students, their travels and learning can reach new heights as budgetary and logistical roadblocks are bypassed.

How does it work?

Virtual field trips don’t require students to leave the classroom, unless the goal is to display the journey on a larger screen within the school building. Teachers can narrate and navigate virtual trips via whatever projection system is available in their rooms. Many trips also come with narrated tracks, like this White House Tour, while others allow for a more self-paced exploration often coupled with engaging text about the areas being discovered and viewed.

Some trips offer virtual reality experiences as well. For schools or classrooms that have VR capabilities, using a resource like Google Cardboard or another viewing system can offer a much more immersive experience. Some tools allow teachers to guide students on a tour through these virtual spaces while others are designed for more individualized experiences.

What destinations are available?

The widespread usage of VR in the classroom has led to a host of tools and resources for bringing this technological boon to life. There are also a wide array of virtual trips which require no personal viewing equipment. With a mixture of virtual and VR trips, these 5 resources offer links to a variety of destinations that can affordably find their way to the top of any travel log! The sky’s the limit; well, actually it isn’t because students can even explore space!

15 Virtual Field Trips for Kids of All Ages– This awesome resource collection from The Spruce has a little something for everyone and every age level. Information about each of the 15 destinations is continually updated, so bookmarking this gem will prove to be quite useful. Links are provided that take readers to a variety of resources for each destination. Tours of The Smithsonian, The Louvre, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, and even the inside of Mount St. Helens are just a few of the classroom getaways that can be planned. A mix of VR and virtual explorations are shared.

5 BEST Virtual Field Trips– This resource guide found in the Teaching Community at Monster.com offers an out of this world option that lets students explore the moon. The other find that makes this collection stand out is the AR component shared. Dipping into the augmented reality realm via AR Sights allows students to immerse themselves in locations all around the world. This AR journey is done as an extension of Google Earth and is a great way to allows students to explore individual areas of interest in a geographical or cultural study.

Discovery Education– There are a wide variety of field trips to be taken without leaving the classroom when using Discovery Education. As a leader in digital content, the virtual field trip portion of the site does not disappoint. The archived field trips can be filtered by grade level or content. Students are able to take guided tours of manufacturing plants, learn how technology integrates into farming, hear about the science behind sports, and more. These discovery journeys that are guided by leading experts make for engaging and educational experiences that move beyond the walls of the classroom.

Get Outta Class with Virtual Field Trips– Education World shares some great destinations along with additional ideas and resources in this article. Creating a virtual field trip is an engaging idea shared. This could be an alternative assignment idea for a student that will miss school for a family trip, an excellent way to showcase the highlights of a real-life field trip that the class was able to take, or a great tool that teachers could create by visiting a local destination that doesn’t have an existing virtual link.

Nearpod– Nearpod is a licensed program that delivers the virtual reality experience to schools and districts. This platform can be integrated into an existing LMS, or it can be purchased for more individualized classroom usage. Students are able to explore a wide variety of VR experiences, and there are many additional attributes to the overall system. Headsets for VR can be purchased or students can travel a less immersive journey by using any device with a web browser. There are lots of possibilities for VR and overall lesson planning and instruction with Nearpod.

Students don’t have to miss out on exploring the world outside their classrooms. When it comes to affordable and engaging experiences, virtual field trips have a lot to offer. No more soggy sack lunches, noisy bus rides, or permission slips required. Virtual experiences are the perfect way to take students on unforgettable journeys across the globe.

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