I was really excited to learn about virtual field trips in the article, The Beginner's Guide to Interactive Virtual Field Trips, by Jan Zanetis. I really had no idea they existed and think back to my own school experience as a child and wish that this resource had been available to me! Virtual field trips provide an opportunity for kids in all different communities to virtually travel to a place they otherwise could not. Not only can students learn from onsite experts at institutions all around the country, but they can also interact with them. This is really an incredible movement in the use of technology for education. This tool is better than just putting on a video to teach kids about a subject because it is actually a real time, interactive experience. They can ask questions and view the space as if they were actually there. It gives students the opportunity to explore outside of the classroom while remaining at the school. This is a great resource for schools that have a hard time providing real field trip opportunities to the students.
I enjoyed visiting some of the virtual field trip sites mentioned in the article. Here is a page I found on the Natural History Museum’s site. It has all kinds of different links and areas to explore.
|You can find this site at: Natural History Museum|
What I also find great is how easy it is! Although the equipment (which allows the use of a large screen that can be used for watching and interacting with the experts) may be an initial investment and many of the virtual field trips have a fee, there are ways to raise the funds. The article mentions that virtual field trip funding can be included in a school’s budget. I also think that it can be something that schools can work to raise the money for themselves, if need be. Jog-a-thons, bake sales, etc. are good ways for schools to raise money for important resources. I think that implementing the tools needed for virtual field trips into schools is going to be very important in the coming years, and schools will definitely begin to catch on. I can’t wait to use them one day in my own classroom!
Thanks for reading!