Expand upon STEM lessons and take students beyond the classroom with virtual field trips.
Taking a field trip has always been one of the most enjoyable aspects of school for students. Gone are the days when teachers had to consider the most affordable options or schedule a school bus and wait for permission slips. Through different technology options, teachers can now take students on virtual field trips.
Real-World Virtual Field Trips
Dedicating class time to virtual field trips sounds helpful, but many teachers wonder how it works and the ways in which students can benefit. Through registering with a service that offers options for virtual field trips, educators are able to have students engage with STEM leaders via video conference or remotely explore global sites.
Using virtual field trips allows educators to bring their students to far-off locations in different areas of the world. This concept is particularly useful for teachers whose students hail from low-income backgrounds, but benefits all students from every socioeconomic level by allowing them to explore locations a class could not feasibly visit.
Accessible Global Education
Because teachers might not be familiar with how virtual field trips work, some famous names have signed on to help teachers get started.
Using Skype, Microsoft affords different options for educators to connect with classrooms and guest speakers from around the world. The company also allows teachers to plan their own or embark upon a past virtual field trip, such as one that allowed students from different schools located around the world to visit Aquarius, the underwater laboratory led by famous aquanaut Fabien Cousteau. The students saw life within the undersea marine laboratory, in addition to life outside the structure on the ocean floor.
Also offering the option of using a virtual field trip, Google has launched its Expeditions Pioneer Program. Teachers can sign up to have the Expeditions Pioneer Program team visit their school and arm educators with the tools necessary to properly utilize virtual field trips. Using an app, teachers will have access to program partners, such as the American Museum of Natural History, the Planetary Society, the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, and the Royal College of Music.
Providing a virtual field trip calendar of upcoming events and the option to take archived journeys, Discovery Communications offers Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips. Teachers can easily access the virtual field trip calendar to plan events, some of which include celebrity guests, such as “All Girls Garage” host Christy Lee and actress Connie Britton who will take part in an event on May 18 to promote the goodwill of Red Nose Day. Discovery Education uses Eventbrite for registration and lists simple connection instructions, affording great ease to teachers who are already busy helping their students.
Educators can use the latest technologies to maximize the student learning experience. Taking virtual field trips introduces students to new regions of the world and global STEM resources, but also increases their exposure to technology, a vital component to every education.