Virtual Field Trips – Tools and Equipment

One of the great things about Virtual Field Trips is that they require very little in terms of equipment other than an Internet ready computer. However, if you want to make a good Virtual Field Trip even better, consider using some of the tools below.

Digital Camera – Are you going on a great vacation this summer? Do you plan to visit relatives in another state or country? Keep a digital camera handy. Snap photos that you think might be useful for VFTs you may design in the future. At school, teach your students how to take pictures with digital cameras. Often, the student’s perspective of our world is quite different from ours, and their photographs may make a stronger connection with other students than your photographs would.

Video Cameras – As with digital cameras, keeping a video camera on hand can allow you to get some great footage for VFTs. Videos of towns, historical places, and unusual events can be very useful in a VFT. Be sure to get permission before you begin your videotaping.

Web cams – Many VFTs involve learning about a place, event, or culture far from you. Use online collaboration sites, such as ePals, or Collaborations Around the Planet to connect with a classroom or school in the area you are learning about. Use a webcam in your classroom so that your connected class can see and learn about your, and ask them to use a webcam so you can see and learn about them.

Digital Voice Recorder or Microphone – Use these tools to narrate your VFT. You can even ask older students to provide the narration for a VFT you have designed for younger students.

Drawing Software – Add colorful elements to your VFTs by drawing them with software. Free software such as Paint or Tuxpaint can be used to draw maps, characters, or almost any other element of your VFT.

Graphics - Photographs, videos, and clip art – Make your VFT exciting and engaging by adding photographs, video, and clip art.

Blogs & Wikis – Use a blog or wiki to allow students to communicate what they have learned from their VFT.

GPS devices – Use a GPS device to record coordinates of locations in your VFT. Have students use the coordinates to navigate through the VFT.

Video Conferencing Equipment
– Make a VFT really come alive with a video conference. Schedule a video conference with an expert, another school, a company, or anyone else that can enhance your VFT. Video conferences can even be recorded for multiple uses.

Drawing Tablets – A great way to engage younger students is through drawing. Use a digital drawing tablet to have students record what they learned through their VFT. Or, better yet, incorporate student drawings into your VFT.

Interactive Whiteboards – With younger students, VFTs can be difficult in terms of management. Use an interactive white board and let students participate in a VFT whole group.

Scanners – Use a scanner to copy student work, classroom materials, or other items to include in your VFT.