Virtual field trips exist for almost any subject – art, history, science, and more. Students can travel back in time or across the world to virtually experience artifacts, cities, architecture as if they were there. Just like traditional field trips, virtual field trips take planning and preparation. To help you plan your next virtual field trip, we’ve provided a few tips and recommended resources.
- Incorporate an activity. Students should be accountable for their learning during the field trip. Require students to use the virtual field trip content as research for a larger project. Have students write about what they learned, or ask them to preview the field trip content and use it to teach the class about their subject. Whatever the field trip, be sure to preview the experience and create an activity that will give students a purpose for engaging with the content.
- Use virtual field trips to prepare students to visit the actual place in person or a similar location. Maybe your class will be visiting Washington D.C. You can tour the Smithsonian before setting foot in the door to give students a preview of what they will see. This will help them focus on the learning that needs to happen on the “real” field trip, rather than just getting familiar with the place.
- Allow time for reflection. After the virtual field trip, get students’ feedback and have them explain something new they learned. Ask them: What did you like? What surprised or impressed you? What questions do you have? Would other classes be interested in this virtual field trip or experience?
- Test out the technology. Whether using VR headsets, laptops, tablets or having students bring their own devices, test out the technology before introducing the lesson. Have a back-up plan if the technology is not working that day.
Skype in the Classroom allows your class to travel to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, swim with sharks from all around the world, or visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and more. https://education.microsoft.com/skype-in-the-classroom/virtual-field-trips
The Nature Conservancy’s Nature Works provides teacher materials and student handouts for their virtual field trip videos. Students can explore the world’s largest coastal temperate rainforest or follow the journey water takes to the kitchen sink, and discover many more topics about nature.
You can access more than 900 virtual field trips with the Expeditions app. Expeditions allows you to create your own virtual tour, or you can use the content from one of its partners including National Geographic, the American Museum of Natural History, or the Guggenheim. https://edu.google.com/products/vr-ar/expeditions/?modal_active=none
Discovery Education provides companion guides for its virtual field trips, which include STEM tours and literature tours. Students can experience Shakespeare’s home Stratford-on-Avon or tour Lockheed Martin to discover new innovations to explore space. https://www.discoveryeducation.com/community/virtual-field-trips/