More and more, schools have turned away from field trips as yet another expense the budget does not allow for. Still, the benefits students receive from seeing the world outside their school walls is priceless. So what can teachers do give their students the world without having to pay a world of money to do so?
Take their students on a virtual field trip!
- The Google Cultural Institute Art Project (see image above) lets students visit many of the most famous museums in the world. Students can virtually walk through museums, zooming in on art that looks interesting to them, and reading information about each piece of artwork. Students can also search this website by theme, by artist, by curated collection, or by location.
- Google Lit Trips take students on a journey through a piece of literature. Search by grade band (K-5, 6-8, 9-12) to view and download a plethora of lit trips. Double-clicking on the downloaded file will open Google Earth (make sure you have downloaded it first!), overlaid with the route the character(s) have taken throughout the course of the book. Students can click on photographs that accompany each site to gain a better sense of context while reading.
- Google Earth now has views of the sky, Mars, and the moon.
- The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has their own stunning virtual walkthrough.
- 360Cities offers 360-degree panoramas of famous cities and sites around the world.
- In UPM Forrest Life, take a virtual tour of a forrest.
- Finally, watch for Google Cardboard Expeditions
*Please note: I have only included 3-D, panoramic virtual tours here. Many websites offer “virtual tours” with photos and captions that students can also explore.
-Maria Vlahiotis, Literacy Specialist, ACOE Core Learning