Today’s blog is a guest post from Skornia Alison, who works for www.essayvalley.co.uk
She is passionate about education and is excited to share her knowledge about virtual field trips.
7 Tips for Organising Virtual Field Trips
Getting your students ‘involved’ in a particular learning activity takes a lot more than a lecture-style lesson. A practical experience is always better – students can demonstrate their learning instead of simply being told what they need to know. Due to travel costs, location, supervision needs, and unforeseen circumstances, a field trip out in the ‘real world’ — isn’t always an option.
The modern virtual world presents us with, yet another, “virtual” solution to our daily teaching problems. Yes, that’s right! You can have your classroom visit any region inside, or even outside, the earth through an online virtual field trip experience.
Here are some essential tips for teachers who are currently missing out on this opportunity and looking for great ways to make use of this technology:
1. Search up the Next Spot
You will be surprised with the number of options you can choose from for your classroom’s next virtual field trip. Check out this Teacher’s Guide to Virtual Fieldtrips for more ideas. Do your research; carefully observe the appropriateness, as well as usefulness of each virtual tour to get an idea of where you will be taking (virtually) the students before you actually do.
Depending on your current subject, you can look for various virtual ‘spots’ on Google. You can have them visit just about any bizarre place on earth that sparks their curiosity. If you’re currently teaching about our stunning solar system, allow them to visit the 9 planets of the solar system. Currently on the topic of Africa? Take them to a virtual trip to Ghana. A mathematics or art class might be incomplete without the subject of the Fibonacci sequence. However, Surrey University offers classroom students a memorable experience through exploration of the Fibonacci number online and their relevance to art, math, and science
2. Give them something to do
Many virtual websites offer assignment sheets, quizzes and games, once you have completed the tour to check how much the students have learned. If this is not present on the virtual trip website you have chosen, you can come up with your own version of a quiz or interactive task after thorough observation of the location and its relevance to the subject. Make sure you clearly explain the requirements of the task before you take them on the virtual field trip.
The best field trips, whether in reality or virtually, are the ones where the students are required to give their feedback in an interesting way. This could be an ‘on-trip’ assignment or project. This will ensure that your students have not only attentively listened and followed the learning in trip, but also taken enough interest to produce their own views, answers, or feedbacks on the trip.
3. Create Your Own VFT
If you can’t find what you are looking for on the web, you can create your own virtual field trip using just a few ‘techy’ tools. Don’t worry you don’t have to a web designer equipped with advanced web techniques to make it work! You can simply visit the preferred location, collect a handful of pictures and videos, and upload them to your class blog. You can also invite a guest speaker or a presenter using Skype and ask them to talk about a subject they have been currently learning.
4. Incorporate Maps To Your Advantage
How about getting into the World Map using the satellite? Thanks to Google, you can view the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Wall of China or even the Eiffel tower real-time using Google Maps or Google Street View. For certain locations, you can let the Google man virtually walk through the streets and view them just as if you were actually there.
5. Take A Virtual Museum Tour
One of the greatest things that museums are now incorporating is the virtual trips of their venues. The Louvre Museum in France for example, offers a fully virtual trip of their museum for the children so that they can learn everything about the museum within the confinements of your class.
6. Demonstrate Live Scientific Events
Consider a situation where a volcano is erupting at a remote island and your class is there to see it. Use the advantage of virtual field trips to introduce scientific events such as spaceship launch and volcanic eruptions to your class. You can keep yourself updated about these events happening and also plan a surprise trip for the children to make things more interesting.
7. Use Extra Help
Another great tip for any teacher is to acquire extra help. For example, if you are taking your kids on a virtual field trip to Spain, you can collaborate with a Spanish teacher to make the trip more effective.