There’s no doubt that field trips are amazing learning opportunities for students, but between budget cuts and planning plunders, it just isn’t always an option. Or is it?
With technology at our fingertips, field trips are ALWAYS an option, virtual field trips, that is. Better yet, they’re free! Chances are, a savvy teacher like you already knew this. Maybe you’ve already done a virtual field trip with your class. How did it go?
No matter how your virtual classroom excursion turned out, we’ve got some tips to make your next virtual field trip something your students will remember.
A virtual field trip is only as good as the preparation involved before your students board that virtual bus to adventure. A well-executed virtual field trip, one that makes concepts memorable, goes far beyond identifying worthy locations or websites.
As with any field trip, review your learning objectives and academic standards when considering your virtual destination. Virtual field trips are a great way to grab students’ attention as you kick off a unit. They can also show students connections between the curriculum and the real world.
Locations can include places such as museums, national monuments, manufacturing facilities, or even local attractions. Here are some other suggestions.
“Fly” your first graders to the San Diego Zoo to learn about animal environments by watching animals on live feed.
Take a “road trip” with your budding engineers to the Toyota factory to learn about the vehicles of the future.
Be sure that you thoroughly explore a website while developing your virtual field trip to make sure it supports your learning goals. Including a mix of modalities such as videos, pictures, readings, and activities will ensure that you are reaching a diverse group of learners.
This OLC article discusses a few more key steps to putting together a virtual field trip.
Once your “travel plans” are set, it’s time to get creative. Develop an engaging introduction to let students know where they’ll be going and what they’ll learn through exploring. For example, hand students a map of the museum, or let them join a video conference with a National Parks Ranger before trekking off to do their own exploring.
Even though you aren’t leaving your classroom, you’ll still need to act as a travel guide to keep any stragglers from getting lost during the virtual journey. Direct your students to beneficial areas, activities, and resources. Make sure you give clear directions on what students are looking for, what they should observe, and what information they should collect.
After a fun trip, who doesn’t love to share pictures and experiences with friends? Arrange small group discussions, encourage in-class blogging, or allow time for journaling. No matter how you do it, get your students recalling information and remembering the experience. If you’re doing it right, they will be happy to oblige.
Are you ready to set sail on a classroom adventure? If you’re still hesitant about tackling your first virtual field trip, check out our example trip to Washington D.C. for inspiration.
If virtual travel planning seems like a daunting task, you can ease into virtual classroom field trips by using a resource such as FieldTrip Zoom, which offers a calendar full of live streaming educational events.
Now, shred those field trip forms and explore in the comfort of your own classroom! And if you need reading material for your trip, remember to subscribe to our blog for more educational resources. Safe travels!
Ryan Jackson recently joined the Lincoln Learning Solutions team as a mathematics teacher. She has more than 8 years of experience in online education. Ryan spends her free time traveling across the U.S. with her husband and two children.
Heather LiVorio has 12 years of combined online and classroom teaching experience. She currently teaches Science and Family Consumer Sciences for Lincoln Learning Solutions and has been employed with the company for 5 years. Heather enjoys spending time with her three boys and family, vacationing at the ocean, and going on adventures