Would your students be interested in diving the USS Arizona? Would they like to race around Africa to learn about different animals? What would they think about hibernating with bears or migrating with birds? These are just a few of the things students can do without leaving your classroom on a virtual field trip.
While some teachers may enjoy getting field trip permission forms signed, collecting money, riding a bus for several hours, dealing with the kid that gets sick on the bus, rushing through a zoo or museum and trying to make it back to school in time for dismissal many teachers don’t like scheduling real field trips. With a virtual field trip, your students can get the benefits of remote locations without all the headaches.
Different Types of Virtual Field Trips
Virtual field trips come in several styles:
Asynchronous web based – These require only an internet connection. Students can work individually or as a whole class to complete a field trip. This often involve a variety of multimedia (audio, video, text) and allow students explore topics around a central theme. Benefits: flexible to schedule, self-paced, no special equipment needed, usually free, no travel time; Drawbacks: no live interaction with a remote site.
Synchronous web based – Requires an internet connection and a webcam/microphone. Students can see and hear the remote site and can often be seen by and ask questions of the presenters. Benefits: live interaction, Q & A possible, no travel time; Drawbacks: must match schedule with remote location, some equipment needed.
Teleconference - Require specialized equipment for connecting with the remote sites. The ACCESS labs at each high school should have the equipment needed. Students would need to travel to the high school to use the equipment so there would be some cost. Benefits: highly interactive, higher quality video and audio; Drawbacks: travel required, must match schedule with remote location
Where to Find Virtual Field Trips
- Electronic Virtual Field Trips
- Reach the World
- Thinkport Online Field Trips
- Huntsville (AL) City Schools Virtual Field Trip Collection – Spreadsheet, notice multiple tabs at bottom
- Utah Education Network
- Collaborations around the Planet – Registration Required
Host Your Own Virtual Field Trip
Instead of going on a field trip to meet experts in some remote location, your students can be the experts that others turn to for information on a topic they’ve learned about. Using our Connect videoconferencing system, you can host your own virtual field trip that other schools in Baldwin County or any where in the world can connect to. All you need is a web cam and some students that are “experts” on a topic that someone else is interested in. Your students can research and learn about a topic to present to the classes on the other end of the connection. Our Connect system allows for live video and audio that can be accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation. If you’re interested in learning more about how to use Connect contact us. Using Connect is FREE!