When we think of field trips, the first thing that comes to mind is a physical excursion outside the classroom. However, educators have another option for virtual field trips in this digital age. Though they may not be as common as traditional field trips, virtual field trips are growing in popularity for many reasons. Here are just a few reasons why virtual field trips are essential:
Virtual field trips offer an immersive learning experience that can take students to places they otherwise couldn’t go because of funding or pandemic concerns. For example, students can visit the White House, the bottom of the ocean, ancient Rome, and more.
They also allow students to learn from experts in fields other than their own. For example, a history student could take a virtual field trip to Gettysburg and hear from a Civil War historian about what happened there.
Finally, virtual field trips supplement classroom learning when travel is impossible due to distance or cost constraints. For example, if your class is learning about China, you can use virtual resources to give them an up-close look at Chinese culture and history at different times. Virtual field trips have many benefits; we will showcase them in this blog post.
How do Virtual Field Trips Work?
A virtual field trip is an online educational excursion where learners visit a virtual (computer-simulated) environment using prerecorded or live-streaming videos to showcase environments in a life-like setting. Virtual field trips can provide learners with an immersive experience that would otherwise be unavailable.
While virtual field trips are not a replacement for real-world experience, they can supplement traditional field trips by providing learners with additional information and perspectives they couldn’t see otherwise without the virtual trips.
For example, a virtual field trip to a rainforest might include live footage of animals in their natural habitat, as well as information about the dangers of deforestation. Virtual field trips allow you to create your avatar and explore the landscape in a 3D space, depending on its depth.
Teachers can also use virtual field trips to visit places that are difficult or impossible to reach in person, such as the bottom of the ocean or the surface of Mars. Visiting these places allows students to understand better how the environment might be in certain conditions. Even if the climate isn’t natural, students can see the minute details of the landscape and draw information from it. Virtual field trips can be a valuable tool for education and exploration when used effectively.
Why Are Virtual Field Trips Important?
Virtual field trips are an increasingly popular and essential tool for educators. For example, virtual field trips can provide students with an immersive experience that is otherwise difficult to replicate in the classroom by providing a virtual tour of a location.
They can also help to save time and money by eliminating the need for physical travel. Students also have access to areas that might be restricted if they visit the physical location. Virtual field trips also make it easier to set up custom lessons since a lot of these platforms have a custom template where teachers can trigger events at a press of a button.
Students can also go to these places anytime if they have the technology. Otherwise, they would need to keep planning trips back to the location and spending resources to get there when that is more sustainable. Virtual field trips also make it easier to ensure everyone is involved; even if a student is absent or can’t attend the scheduled field trip, they can look at the environment through a virtual tour.
How Can Teachers Access Virtual Field Trips
There are several ways to access virtual field trips, and the best option will vary depending on the available resources. One popular option is to use a virtual reality headset, which can transport students to another location in an immersive and realistic way.
VR headsets are costly and can only be provided to some students; however, schools can set up classrooms with a maximum number of headsets that classes can rent out. Of course, only some classes at one time need a VR headset. Some classes won’t use the headset at all, so there would be no need to have a lot of headsets.
Alternatively, teachers can use video conferencing tools to connect with experts who can provide virtual tours of their facilities and answer questions from students in real time. Students can also ask for specific things they want to see during the tour and request specific items or animals.
Teachers can also take advantage of certain games, such as Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour, which allows people to go through areas at their own pace and hear voice-acted cutscenes. Whatever approach is used, virtual field trips offer a unique opportunity for students to learn about the world around them in a fun and engaging way.
Student Hires and Virtual Field Trips
At Student Hires, we believe in the transformative power of education. Our team of dedicated college students designs and leads experiential K-12 learning programs that provide disadvantaged youth with the tools they need to succeed in their future careers.
Through hands-on activities and real-world experiences, our programs increase students’ knowledge, skills, confidence, and motivation. We will check on new technologies similar to virtual tours and see how to add them to our summer programs and workshops.
Virtual tours allow students to go to different places that they aren’t able to or wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Hopefully, more schools will look into these technologies and see how to implement them in their classrooms and courses.