Introduction

Virtual field trips provide opportunities for both educators and students to explore various locations and learn about ancient artifacts in a controlled environment. These types of trips will help students become more engaged with the curriculum. Virtual tours can be used on days when educators are absent, but more importantly, during this time of remote learning, virtual field trips will offer students a bit of adventure and educators a break from trying to come up with meaningful lessons for their classes.

Resources

There are many resources online for teaching with virtual field trips, especially during this time of remote learning. Some of these resources may even help you develop your own virtual field trip!

Lesson Plans

  1. 25+ Amazing Educational Virtual Field Trips—Spring 2020: We Are Teachers provides educators with over twenty-five virtual field trips. These educational virtual field trips include Slime in Space, Zoo Atlanta’s Panda Cam, the Seattle Aquarium webcam, a planetarium, Yellowstone National Park, the Great Lakes, the Boston Children’s Museum, the Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and more. There is a brief description under each of the virtual tours, which offer additional related field trips that might interest both educators and students.
  2. 20 Amazing Virtual Field Trips to Aquariums, Museums, and Mars: CNN offers a list of various virtual field trips under the categories of zoos & aquariums, art, science, and history. Students will have the opportunity to “visit” the San Diego Zoo, Mars, the National Constitution Center, and Colonial Williamsburg. In addition, CNN also provides parents with materials which they could purchase (games, puzzles, experiment kits, etc.) to make the experience even more real.
  3. Virtual Trips You Can Take From Home: TODAY has put together a list of some of their favorite virtual activities. Included in this list are Earth Day virtual field trips and virtual tours of theme parks, zoos and national parks, museums and art galleries, and travel destinations. Additionally, there are resources for parents and adults who need extracurriculars, such as workout and cooking classes.

Articles

  1. Scholastic – Virtual Field Trips: Scholastic has published a brief article on virtual field trips, which explains how the trips can be customized for students depending on the educational goals that need to be met, the main benefit of virtual tours (traveling around the world without moving an inch!), and how schools can make this work using videoconferencing services. Lastly, at the bottom of the page, educators can find various resources which will help them plan a virtual field trip.
  2. How to Make the Most of Virtual Field Trips: edutopia provides educators with an article on how to make the most of virtual field trips. Educators will be able to read advice from other educators about their journey to make virtual field trips worthwhile in their classroom. It is recommended that educators have a goal, keep it short, continue the lesson offline (with supplemental materials), and know the limits of virtual field trips. These tips will help educators to make the most of the opportunities that virtual field trips offer to both educators and students.
  3. Why Use Virtual Field Trips?: Pearson offers an article on why educators should use virtual field trips. This piece provides an introduction to virtual field trips, the benefits of virtual field trips, the differences between “packaged” field trips and “personalized” field trips, and a brief conclusion.

Informational Sites

  1. Discovery Education – Virtual Field Trips: Discovery Education provides a multitude of virtual field trips under the categories of Health Wellness, Careers and College Readiness, SEL, Tech and Manufacturing, Sports, Community Engagement, Science/Stem/Exploration, Financial Literacy/Economics, The Natural World or Conservation/Environment, Literacy, Argumentation with Evidence, Collecting and Analyzing Data, and Agriculture.
  2. Virtual Field Trips: This site provides social studies, science, geography, ancient civilization, language, and expedition videos for students in various grade levels. These videos will allow students to explore locations and concepts that they normally would not have the opportunity inside of the classroom. 

Conclusion

Virtual field trips have many benefits, especially because students often learn best in the real world. With virtual field trips, students can stroll through Buckingham Palace and take an African safari and enjoy the view from the top of the Empire State Building. The resources above will help you to integrate virtual field trips into your class’s curriculum!

Additional Resources

  1. Internet Explorers – Virtual Field Trips Are More Than Just Money Savers: edutopia has published an article on the purpose of virtual field trips, as “these online adventures emphasize student participation and standards-based curriculum.” Included in this article are four free virtual field trips (Blue Zones Quest, GoNorth!, Windows into Wonderland, and National Geographic: Lewis & Clark) which are explained in detail.
  2.  5-Minute Film Festival- Virtual Field Trips: edutopia has put together a list of videos and resources for virtual field trips, which includes trips to Morocco, of refugee life, and to the Amazon Rainforest. Additionally, more resources are provided for exploring virtually.
  3. Travel the World From Your Classroom – Free iPad Apps for Virtual Field Trips: In this article, there is a list of free iPad apps that students can use for virtual field trips. The list includes National Parks by National Geographic, Gettysburg, Getty Museum, NASA Earth Now, Timeline – Art Museum, Sphere, American Museum of Natural History’s Creatures of Light, Trees Pro HD Nature Mobile, and Congressional Record.