How to take students around the world without traveling far? If you haven’t already, it’s worth trying virtual field trips and field trips. More than ever, these resources allow students to experience spaces they might not otherwise be able to see, and there are many ways to introduce them to students as they explore a topic.
Virtual field trips can help students explore new spaces, build vocabulary and background knowledge, and broaden their worldview. Whether you’re exploring the context of a novel, asking location-based math questions, or connecting with current events, virtual field trips can extend traditional classroom instruction in many ways. One of the reasons I love them so much is that they allow students to see a space that inspires their curiosity and provides context for their learning.
The term virtual field trip can be used to describe not only 360-degree photos and videos but also the real-time interactions and video conferences you can set up with subject matter experts, such as authors or museum docents. Flipgrid (one of my favorite tools) hosts some of these virtual field trips.
The list of free virtual field trip resources here is adapted from my December 2020 presentation on ISTE Live. Students can access these resources without having to log in to a new website, and teachers can publish links to 360-degree images or interactive experiences on platforms students already use, making it both available for use in traditional classroom settings and easily accessible at home.
- AirPano: The site contains 360-degree videos and images from around the world. No need to create an account – you can just jump in and start searching. When you’re ready to share it with your students, you can copy and paste a link, or choose the embed option if you’re adding the widget to the resource site. If you’re looking for an international location, the AirPano is a great option for exploring outdoor spaces, including Machu Picchu during the day or the Northern Lights at night.
- Google Maps for hiking: Treks integrates with Google Maps and Earth to organize content in a user-friendly way. There are treks all over the world, including the US and Canada, Egypt, Nepal, and India. Each has information and videos for students to explore.
- National Geographic: National Geographic’s YouTube channel lets students around the world learn about different cultures, foods, animals, and more. Have students press the play key on the video, and when the video starts playing, they can use the cursor or trackpad to rotate the video in different directions. They can tap a portion of the screen to move the video back and forth while learning about the new location.
- Nearpod: As an interactive presentation tool, Nearpod has virtual reality content built into its platform in a 360-degree panorama that can be used as a great reading strategy to introduce a new book or spark discussion on social studies or scientific topics. Talk to your Students, use these interactive experiences together, plug them into any Nearpod lesson, just like adding a slideshow or polling. (Please note: Nearpod also offers paid plans with extra amenities.)
- 360Cities: This collection of 360-degree images contains many user-uploaded assets. There is a dedicated school version that allows you to provide a more dynamic learning experience for your students; it has features like a tour guide creator.
- Google Arts and Culture: The tool contains a variety of high-quality content, including interactive views that allow students to wander through extraordinary spaces such as museums and explore examples of beautiful architecture such as the Alhambra in Spain. You can let students know that this resource is responsive not only on a web browser, but also on a mobile device, they can access the content on their smartphone or tablet, Chromebook, or laptop.
Have Students Answer Key Questions
As students explore these resources, set a goal for them by using prompts to guide their fieldwork. Possible hints include:
- What do you think of the weather here?
- How do you think someone captured this moment?
- What might be missing from this recording?
If building student vocabulary is a key goal of introducing students to virtual field trips, you can point out different objects in the panoramic view or have students find specific characteristics. For example, say students are studying geological features and you take them on a virtual field trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You can discuss terms such as craters, steam vents, and igneous rocks together.
When sharing with students, include prompts or questions, and post links and assignments to areas they already have access to, such as their home page. B. Google Classroom, Seesaw or Schoology. If you share a resource list with some of these virtual field trips with students, colleagues, or family, you can create a favorite list using tools like Google Sites, Spark Page, or Microsoft Sway.
About the article
Virtual field trips can help students explore new spaces, build vocabulary and background knowledge, and broaden their worldview.
Whether you’re exploring the context of a novel, asking location-based math questions, or connecting with current events, virtual field trips can extend traditional classroom instruction in many ways. In this article, we have discussed 6 Free Resources for Virtual Field Trips.
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