Imagine your class traveling to see the Great Pyramid of Giza, touring the International Space Station, or having a face to face conversation with a beloved author. All of these experiences are possible through virtual field trips.
Virtual field trips allow us to take our students on adventures we never could before.
They are fun, very engaging and best of all most virtual field trips are absolutely FREE! There are tons of exciting places to go and connections waiting for you and your classroom to make that are already available.
So where are the best places to find a virtual field trip for your class? And what activities can you provide your students to take the learning further?
During the weekly #DitchBook Twitter chat (Thursdays at 7 p.m. PST / 8 p.m. MST / 9 p.m. CST / 10 p.m. EST), we discussed these questions and more. The conversation included sharing favorite sites, apps, and resources along with ideas for taking your virtual field trip beyond a one time experience with activities to enhance the lesson.
Below you will find 20 virtual field trip ideas and activities for your classroom. Educators shared ideas along with links to resources so that you can get started connecting your classroom tomorrow!
Ideas and resources for virtual field trips
1. Skype in the classroom
The Microsoft Educator Community provides five innovative ways to use Skype in the classroom. Your class can connect to the world through virtual field trips, Skype lessons, Skype collaborations, mystery Skypes, and guest speakers.
A2 My go-to is the Microsoft Educator Community (https://t.co/3H3hYVk4i4) There’s so many great trips to choose from!! I also encourage teachers to just email ANYONE they want to connect their students with. #DitchBook #SkypeMT https://t.co/Muh3q2wnet— Scott Titmas (@sdtitmas) October 12, 2018
2. Google Expeditions
With the Google Expeditions app, available on iOs and Android, you can take your class on interactive journeys in both VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality). Through Aquilla Education's website, you can search available expeditions by grade level, subject or location.
A2 I love Google Expeditions, especially with the self-guided features they released last year. Each student can choose his/her own viewer! #Ditchbook— Sarah Warren (@wizardwarren) October 12, 2018
Nearpod VR allows educators to take their classes on virtual field trips around the world on any device. Nearpod VR works on VR headsets but you don't need to use them to experience a virtual field trip.
5. Google Street View
Google Street View gives you the experience of actually stepping inside a museum, touring national landmarks or even restaurants all from your computer or mobile device. There are many ways to explore with Google Street View. Check out mapstreetview.com to explore anywhere or visit natural wonders and world landmarks at www.google.com/streetview.
A2 LOVE Google street view on Chromebooks! Explore world landmarks, discover natural wonders, and step inside locations such as museums, arenas, parks and transport hubs. https://t.co/HY2oI6DsgJ #ditchbook pic.twitter.com/7pzRKvQYWs— Karly Moura (@KarlyMoura) October 12, 2018
6. Field Trip Zoom
Field Trip Zoom has an extensive calendar of interactive events that can be live streamed into your classroom. Although Field Trip Zoom is not free they do offer a one month free trial for new schools or school districts.
7. Google Tour Builder
Google Tour Builder is an exciting way to create your own tour to share a journey and highlight locations along the way using Google Earth. Students can view tours that have already been created or create one of their own!
A2: AND Google Tours! The students LOVED making a path for the slaves to travel on the Underground Railroad!!! #DitchBook— 𝒞𝓇𝓎𝓈𝓉𝒶𝓁 𝒩𝑜𝓁𝑒𝓃 (@techNOLIEgy) October 12, 2018
Empatico.org is a free resource that connects classrooms through video. Aimed at upper elementary school students, Empatico.org is a way for students and teachers to connect to other classes while focusing on sparking curiosity, kindness, and empathy.
9. YouTube 360°
Did you know that you can watch tons of 360° videos on Youtube? You can search through tons of 360° videos on almost anything. Find exciting videos from National Geographic, Discovery VR, the Science Channel and more to use in your class.
10. National and State Park Virtual Tours
NationalParks.org provides students with electronic field trips that provide students the opportunity to go to parks they may never otherwise get to visit. The National Parks Service offers free ranger-guided virtual field trips on a first come first serve basis.
Tech Like A PIRATE is now available!
Activities to take your virtual field trip experience further
11. Connect with the local community.
If possible try to connect with someone living in the location you are visiting. Utilize the Microsoft Educator Community and see if your class can Skype with someone local to your destination.
A3-Maybe find ways to Google Hangout or Skype with someone currently living in the location of the field trip. #DitchBook— Andrea Meadows (@AndreaLMeadows) October 12, 2018
12. Create or find an accompanying HyperDoc.
HyperDocs are a great way to immerse students in a unit through blended learning. Why not pair your virtual field trip with a HyperDoc lesson or unit to enhance the experience before, during and after the trip?
13. Utilize pre-made lessons.
In addition to providing amazing virtual field trips, Nearpod also has over 450 ready-to-teach VR lessons!
14. Preview or review the virtual field trip with a game.
Kids love virtual field trips almost as much as they love games. Add even more fun to the experience with a Jeopardy-style game, puzzles or a game-based learning tool like Gimkit, Quizizz or Kahoot!
15. "Travel" to a destination more than once!
Who says you can only go on your virtual field trip once? An added benefit of taking kids somewhere virtually is that you can go again and again. Take your students back and experience the trip from a different perspective.
#ditchbook A3 after the virtual trip - not a bad idea to relive it from another perspective. Perhaps with another goal/objective— Cherie McLaughlin (@SraMcLaughlin) October 12, 2018
16. Add a stem connection with 3D printing or a makerspace challenge.
After visiting a place have students create an artifact from the destination. Students can use everyday household items to create or take it up a few notches by having them create a 3D object in a program like Tinkercad. If you are lucky enough to have access to a 3D printer students can even print their artifact and share with the class.
A3: Use it as a prompt for writing. Or, have students create an artifact in a MakerSpace for whatever you may be studying. Keep it alive by theming your week based on your location. Students could also share a GoogleTour with classmates. #DitchBook— 𝒞𝓇𝓎𝓈𝓉𝒶𝓁 𝒩𝑜𝓁𝑒𝓃 (@techNOLIEgy) October 12, 2018
17. Take others to your destination with green screen.
Have students share what they learned about a location by creating their own news report. Use an app like DoInk to transport students back to the location of your trip with Green Screen.
18. "Travel" with another class.
Students can become virtual pen pals with classes all over the world through Flipgrid's GridPals. Take your students on a virtual field trip to a famous landmark near your GridPal's location or use Google Street View to visit their town!
19. Have students do offline activities to reflect on and share their virtual field trip.
Get hands-on with activities like writing postcards, creating sketchnotes, making scrapbooks or a creative writing lesson after your trip.
A3: After a virtual field trip, we can take it farther by...let me count the ways:— Lᴀᴜʀᴀ Sᴛᴇɪɴʙʀɪɴᴋ #RockNTheBoat (@SteinbrinkLaura) October 12, 2018
Create comic Strip highlights or #sketchnotes
Creative writing activities
Create "scrapbook" highlights
(off the top of my head)#DitchBook
20. Focus students with a learning target.
Have a learning target during your virtual field trip allows your students to focus their observations and connect it back to the content. As Brian notes below, be sure to allow for spontaneous noticings too. You never know where your students' observations might take you!
What are your best virtual field trip lesson ideas? How have you used them in class? Which of these ideas could you start using? Leave your ideas in a comment below!
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