Virtual Field Trips
As teachers, we know that field trips motivate and educate our
kids. We also know they are time-consuming, difficult to organize,
and often affected by the weather. In many cases, the places we
would most like to visit aren't nearby or aren't open at the time
we are covering them in the curriculum. In these cases, the next
best thing to a real field trip is a virtual field trip. In fact,
virtual field trips are often better because they take you places
you couldn't otherwise go, for example, inside a volcano, under
the ocean, or straddling a fault line.
is a Virtual Field Trip?
What is a virtual field trip? It's a guided and
narrated tour of Web sites that have been selected by educators
like yourself and arranged in a "thread" that students
can follow from site to site with just the click of a single button.
Using Tramline technology, teachers like us can create easy-to-follow
tours so students no longer have to work from lists of Web sites.
This is a real advantage because lists of links are not easy to
work from at any level, but they are especially difficult for elementary
Virtual field trips are the best way to assemble,
or thread together, the most important sites that tell a story or
follow a theme. In addition to an easy-to-follow thread, the narration
window contains text explaining the site, putting it in context
for the grade level and theme you are studying, and providing additional
links to take students to key pages on the site.
Once published on the Web, other teachers no longer
have to start from scratch and find the time to assemble the sites
they want their students to visit. The biggest help we can give
teachers is to have professionals do this work for them and provide
them with the needed tools so they can spend their time on other
aspects of their work.
Real Field Trips
Virtual and real trips are different from one another,
but they also have many features in common. Let's take a look at
these differences and similarities.
- Both real and virtual field trips are group activities where
kids interact with each other.
- Both real and virtual field trips involve active, not passive
- Both real and virtual field trips take the student mentally
out of the classroom and into a new and different learning environment.
See for Yourself
- Virtual field trips can be repeated over and over again.
- Virtual field trips give students more room to move at their
own pace and explore things to their own depth.
- Virtual field trips can take you to places you would not otherwise
- Virtual field trips lack the sensory experience of a real field
- Virtual field trips are safe and free of hazards.
- Virtual field trips can tap into more expert resources on a
The following tour will allow you to explore the usefulness
of this approach.
- The Teacher
Resource Tour takes you to many of the best sites in the fields
of nature, ecology, and conservation. By taking this tour, you'll
find resources that you may not have even known existed.