What is a Virtual Field Trip?
A virtual field trip is an activity in which students visit one large website (such as NASA or the Smithsonian Museum) or several related websites to simulate a field trip to locations too remote (or too virtual) to be physically visited by students. The teacher prepares a study guide that walks the students through the web sites, pointing out interesting facts or activities and requesting students to collect information along the way—much as a museum tour guide would accomplish in a walking tour! The activity can be quite elaborate, with parent volunteers to lead students through the experience, or simply created to serve as a center activity.
According to Kawka and Burgess (2001), in their book, V-Trip Travel Guide, “a V-trip is a pre-planned visit to a specific Internet destination to accomplish specific educational objectives” (p. 2), and these trips take almost as much planning and preparation as physical field trips. See Field Trip to the Antarctic and Field Trip to the Ocean for samples of study guides for children.
So, where do you go on V-trips? Some common trips include visits to:
NASA’s Mars exploration program (http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/home/),
- SeaWorld (http://seaworld.org/)
- Museums, such as The Smithsonian (http://www.si.edu/) Check out the section for kids!
- Statue of Liberty (http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/immigration/webcast.htm)
How do I create my own Virtual Field Trip?
There are so many ways to create a virtual field trip – using a wiki, blog, Google presentation, Skype connections, or Google Earth! First, select a tool you would like to use. We will feature creating a Virtual Field Trip with a wiki (Wikispaces, to be exact!), and provide you with links to the others.
STEP 1: DO YOUR RESEARCH!!
First, you must decide what the purpose of your trip will be and where you want the students to go for research and what they will do when they get there!! So, you have to do some research – find web sites, interactive games, informational activities, videos, or photos/webcams that you want them to view. Collect those URLs! You might also want to visit some of the copyright-friendly sources on this site to gather some great images that you can add to make your VFT colorful and inviting!
STEP 2:CREATE A SCRIPT
Write out the procedure you want the students to use in the guided research activity.
STEP 3: BUILD THE VFT
In five easy steps, you can set up a wiki VFT!
- Go to http://www.wikispaces.com/content/teacher and sign up for an educational wiki
- Set up your wiki (Adjust SETTINGS)
- EDIT the page and add the text you created to guide your students
- Add LINKS to the websites they will be exploring
and add IMAGES to make it colorful!
5. SAVE & SHARE! Once you have finished making your edits, click the Save button in the editor toolbar, then copy the URL and share!
Using Other Tools for Virtual Field Trips
Links to Archives of Virtual Field Trips