"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 hrallis@d.umn.edu.

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Virtual Field Trips

What is a virtual field trip?

  1. When students are not able to take a real field trip, teachers (or students) can do the following as alternatives.
  2. 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)
  3. 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, such as:
    1. Web page
    2. Power Point presentation
    3. Poster display or bulletin board
    4. Brochure
  4. 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).
  5. 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:

  1. Visit the field site yourself, armed with a digital camera and clip board
  2. 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.
  3. Collect any brochures that may be available at the site.
  4. On your return from the site, prepare your photos and plan your virtual field trip:
  5. Put together your field trip (examples of formats: web page, Power Point presentation, poster display or bulletin board, brochure)


Examples of some Virtual Field Trips sites:

  1. Vicki Blackwell's Virtual Field Trips http://www.i-55.com/~vickib/vft.html
  2. Fifth Grade Virtual Field Trips: Champaign Community Schools. http://www.cmi.k12.il.us/Champaign/grdlvl/5/ftrips.html
  3. GEO. Virtual field trips - southern Iceland: Hekla, Katla, Laki, Vatnajökull and the Vestmann Islands.http://www.ismennt.is/vefir/earth/mhcur/netdays.htm
  4. Forham University Virtual Field Trips: http://www.fordham.edu/gse/notebook/field.htm
  5. Big Bend National ParkVirtual Field Trip http://www.maroon.com/bigbend/intro/index.html#over
  6. David Levin's Learning@WebSites - Field Trips: http://www.ecnet.net/users/gdlevin/field_trips.html
  7. NASA Inline Educational Resources: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/OER/
  8. An Online Education Database of Children's Literature Author: http://oedb.org/articles/online-database-children-literature-authors.html

 

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