How many times, as a teacher, have you wished that you could take your students somewhere on a learning adventure?  Then you start to think about the challenges posed with a field trip, like transportation, financial burden, safety and security, and oftentimes, logistics.  These challenges frequently get in the way of teachers taking their students out to explore the world around them. Enter virtual field trips.

Imagine that amid the study of Chinese civilizations, you can take your students on a trek along the Great Wall of China.  Students can explore the amazing architecture of this great World Wonder and observe the surroundings of it’s lush dense landscape.  A field trip of this nature allows for a detailed study of the historical impact on a culture of people and how the present so often mimics the past.  Picture standing outside of the Taj Mahal, having just spent time revealing the love story of Mumtaz Mahal and the epic ode to her built by her devoted husband upon her death.  The intricate patterns that are found within the structure and the romantic symmetry reflecting the connected souls of the Mahals. Consider the mathematical study of the geometry that is present within this architectural wonder and the connections that can be made to the classroom.  All of these experiences, and more, are available via virtual field trips.

When considering how we can appeal virtual field trips to our younger learners, there are a plethora of offerings from aquariums, farms, and zoos all over the world.  Whether you are observing the polar bear habitat at the San Diego Zoo or checking out the secret reef cams at the Tennessee Aquarium, students can be exploring the world through the click of a button.  This opens the door for writing prompts and storytelling aligning with language arts curriculum, exploratory learning aligning with science standards, or studies of the countries/regions of the world in which these animals are natively found.  

Oftentimes, exploring the world beyond the classroom adds a depth and perspective to the studies that are occurring within the curriculum and learning objectives.  Students are often fascinated by the world beyond their own communities. In addition to peeking their interest and captivating their attention, we also simultaneously raise global awareness within our future leaders.  The more that students are aware of their global counterparts and the communities and cultures in which they live, the more prepared our students will become to interact with, impact, and influence the future. The world is at the fingertips of our students and it is our responsibility, whether learning from a distance or sitting within a classroom, that we guide their explorations and introduce them to the world beyond their walls.

The Ready Learner One team is proud to offer you the following focused compilation of resources to assist you with your Virtual Field Trip Adventures. 

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post in the Ready Virtual Learner One Series focusing on Assessing from a Distance.  Wishing you good health!

Virtual Field Trips Resources
Virtual Field Trips is a great way to engage your students in exploratory learning.  In a time where many are quarantined to their homes, virtual field trips allow you to take your students to anywhere in the world.  Here are some great resources to get your journey started.
Virtual Field Trip Inventory List
Virtual Field Trips by Area of Focus
Global Oneness Project– categorized by social cause
The Growing Virtual Field Trip List
Calendar of Virtual Field Trips
San Diego Zoo Cams
Tennessee Aquarium Secret Reef Cam
Early Learner Virtual Field Trips

About the author: Christine Lion-Bailey is the Chief Strategy Officer for Ready Learner One LLC and a Director of Technology & Innovation in New Jersey. She is also is the coauthor of Reality Bytes: Innovative Learning Using Augmented and Virtual Reality. Christine is an advocate for innovative thought and practices in learning, both through instruction and leadership, across K-12, higher ed, and corporate spaces. Follow Christine on Twitter at @clionbailey.

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