Hitting the Virtual Road – a spin on the classic field trip

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Do you ever take your students on fields trips to a museum or art gallery? Are there barriers to these field trips like time, transportation, money, or even child minding or accessibility? Have you ever thought of doing a virtual field trip?

Virtual Field Trips

Explore the world using web and digital technologies without the logistics of leaving the classroom. Use a virtual field trip (VFT) to prepare for a real trip to a local exhibit. Create student-generated virtual field trips to share with classmates. In many ways, virtual field trips are on-par with real field trips. While a virtual field trip lacks the senses of touch, taste, and smell, it can magnify the senses of sight and sound, especially for students with visual or hearing impairments. They can be re-played over and over for language learners as well.

Many museums and art galleries have virtual exhibits or webcams for teachers and students as well as floor plans for planning accessible routes or practicing giving directions for ESL students:

You can use Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Street View to navigate the earth while giving and receiving directions.

Discover UNESCO World Heritage with Street View

Consider this reading, speaking, and listening task for CLB 2

Ask students to read the Wonders of the World from Pearson English Active Readers. Then, follow the real world locations through the Skyline Webcams or perhaps the AirPano app. You can play a modified version of the Amazing Race with clues giving and receiving directions to locations using Google Earth and prepare vocabulary using a picture word search or crossword.

Sample student and eportfolio entry as an exemplar

Students could create a virtual field trip of how to navigate locations within their school by recording their movements with their cellphones or tablets for their classmates to watch and learn. Tech-savvy teachers can annotate these videos. Watch an Educreations sample video of directions for a library tour.

For an example of a virtual field trip for higher level language learners you can check out John Allan’s blog post Yes! You Can: Making Virtual Tours.

 Have you ever done a virtual reality field trip?

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