When it’s not practical or affordable to take students on in-person field trips off campus, teachers can still introduce them to new places and experiences through virtual field trips. Using interactive websites, live feeds, or 360-degree videos, students can explore and learn virtually.
Virtual Field Trip Resources
Consider using these 10 options for planning virtual field trips:
Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC): This organization offers free learning programs for students of all ages, every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 1:00 pm ET. These virtual programs are typically 45 to 50 minutes in length and provide opportunities to “visit” museums, national parks, zoos, aquariums, and science centers. Programs are free with registration.
DART (Distance And Rural Technology) Learning: This is a service by the New South Wales Department of Education that “provides access and equity to education by supporting teachers with professional development and students with engaging virtual excursions.”
Google Arts & Culture: The mission of this free website from Google “is to preserve and bring the world’s art and culture online so it’s accessible to anyone, anywhere.” The site includes 360-degree videos where students can use their device to move around a room or look at something from many angles.
The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Museum Resources, E-Learning, and Online Collections: This is an extensive list of links that you and your students can explore. It’s provided by the Museum Computer Network.
The 75 Best Virtual Museum Tours Around the World [Art, History, Science, and Technology]: This is an article published by Upgraded Points, and it offers a detailed description of each resource as well as a direct link to it.
Explore.org: This nonprofit provides access to hundreds of live cams and films from around the world. They also offer educators free access to lesson plans and resources. While not designed as formal virtual field trips, your students can get a firsthand look at the world through these live cams and video feeds.
360-Degree Videos and Images: These are fun resources because they are interactive. Students can move around the video or image and choose their own path of exploration. There are a number of these available for free online. Some include AirPano, 360schools, and 360-degree images on Google Maps. You can also find 360-degree videos on YouTube using their Filters feature. Budget allowing, Google Cardboard virtual-reality viewers can be used with iPhones or iPads to provide students with a more immersive experience.
When planning a virtual field trip experience, it’s important to do more than just have students explore. Begin by targeting curricular objectives to which you can align the experience. Then, make plans to prepare your students for the trip, find ways to engage them during the trip, and help students demonstrate and reflect on their learning after the trip. To extend the experience, you can have students create their own virtual field trips.
How can I learn more?
For more information about online virtual field trips, explore the following AVID Open Access article: Leverage Virtual Field Trips to Engage Students in Authentic Learning Experiences.