"How to" Guideline series is coordinated by Helen
Mongan-Rallis of the Education Department at the University of Minnesota
Duluth. If you have any questions, comments,
or suggestions to improve these guidelines please me at e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virtual Field Trips
What is a virtual field trip?
- When students are not able to take a real field trip, teachers (or students)
can do the following as alternatives.
- Simulate a field trip either by having students visit web sites that show
different places of interest (example: Fifth
Grade Virtual Field Trips: Champaign Community Schools - (http://www.cmi.k12.il.us/Champaign/grdlvl/5/ftrips.html)
- Create their own virtual field trip by visiting an actual place and taking
photographs of key features. These photos can then be inserted into a display
to show students back in class. This display can take a variety of forms,
- Web page
- Power Point presentation
- Poster display or bulletin board
- You can also create a virtual field trip to prepare students for what they
will see and learn when they take an actual field trip. This pre-trip virtual
field trip can be combined with readings and other activities. This way, when
they arrive at the site, they will have a better understanding of what they
are looking at. An example of this is in Dr.
Penny Morton's Mineralogy and Petrology I Field Trip at UMD (http://www.d.umn.edu/~pmorton/geol2311/field%20trips/fieldtrip2001.htm).
- Even when you and your students are able to take a real field trip, you
(and or your students) can take along a digital camera and take photos while
you are there. Then, on your return, you can create a virtual trip to show
what you saw and learned. Putting together a virtual field trip is a valuable
way for students to synthesize what they learned during the trip. This can
be used (a) by students who were not able to take the trip (b) for future
or other classes who won't be able to go on this trip.
How to create a virtual field trip:
- Visit the field site yourself, armed with a digital camera and clip board
- Take photos of key features (example: field trip to a zoo, take photos of
different animals). Make notes on what you want students to notice in the
photo, or information about the feature in the photo.
- Collect any brochures that may be available at the site.
- On your return from the site, prepare your photos and plan your virtual
Put together your field trip (examples of formats: web page, Power Point
presentation, poster display or bulletin board, brochure)
- Prepare the photographs that you want to use in your virtual field trip:
go through all the photos that you took, selecting the ones you want to
use, and then cropping these to the size you want.
- Create a storyboard or concept map to plan out how you want to present
the trip. In each storyboard box, state what photo you will include and
what you want to say about the photo. You may also include questions you
want to ask students as they look at and read about the photo.
- If you want to include photos from brochures that you obtained at the
site, scan these using a scanner. Make sure that include the source of the
photos within your trip (state where the picture was obtained). If needed,
obtain permission to use the photos.
- You can also add to your field trip by doing a search on line for web
sites that relate to your trip. You can include links to these web pages
from your virtual field trip, or you can copy images from the pages to include
in your trip (secure permission of needed). As with scanned pictures, make
sure that include the source of the photos within your trip (state where
the picture was obtained).
Examples of some Virtual Field Trips sites:
- Vicki Blackwell's Virtual
Field Trips http://www.i-55.com/~vickib/vft.html
Grade Virtual Field Trips: Champaign Community Schools. http://www.cmi.k12.il.us/Champaign/grdlvl/5/ftrips.html
- GEO. Virtual
field trips - southern Iceland: Hekla, Katla, Laki, Vatnajökull
and the Vestmann Islands.http://www.ismennt.is/vefir/earth/mhcur/netdays.htm
- Forham University
Virtual Field Trips: http://www.fordham.edu/gse/notebook/field.htm
- Big Bend National
ParkVirtual Field Trip http://www.maroon.com/bigbend/intro/index.html#over
- David Levin's
Learning@WebSites - Field Trips: http://www.ecnet.net/users/gdlevin/field_trips.html
- NASA Inline Educational Resources:
- An Online Education Database of Children's Literature Author: http://oedb.org/articles/online-database-children-literature-authors.html
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