Virtual Field Trip Tips

Ø Relate the trip directly to curriculum to maximize impact and learning. Consider the purpose of the trip. Ask yourself “What do I want my students to learn from this experience?”

Ø Provide pre and post field trip activities just as you would with a “real” field trip.

Ø Involve as many senses as possible. Virtual field trips that are realistic and authentic can provide experiences as rich, or even richer than an actual trip to the same location.

Ø Call on local businesses to lend a hand with your field trip. If you’re doing a VFT to space, ask a local astronomer or physicist to be a guest speaker. If you’re trip involves learning about the body, schedule a local physician or nurse to participate. Through webcams and video conferencing, even a guest speaker can be provided virtually!

Ø Make your VFT interactive. Give students choices along the trip. Let them decide specific areas or topics to visit.

Ø As you are developing your trip, periodically take the VFT yourself. Look at it from a student’s perspective. Does it make sense? Is it logical? Can you follow along with it easily? Is learning occurring?

Ø Keep your audience in mind. A VFT for kindergarten should not be as long or in-depth as a VFT for older children. Younger students will need more interactive and/or pictorial guidance. Older students usually prefer more choices and freedom to move about the tour independently and self-paced.

Ø To save time, partner with other teachers to create VFTs in multiple areas, then share your work. Build a school collection of VFTs.

Ø Involve your students in the creation of the VFT. Or, let older students create simple VFTs for younger students. Have your students make a VFT about your community or school, then share with another school.

Ø Extend the lesson by having students create a product based on their trip. Products could be diaries, journals, presentations, and multimedia projects to name a few.

Ø Prepare the students for the trip ahead of time, just as you would a real field trip. Plan follow up activities or discussions too.

Ø Don’t allow students to roam the internet freely. Students should know the objective(s) of the VFT. Give clear directions for the sites the students are to visit.