What are virtual field trips? According to Kirchen (2011) “A virtual field trip (VFT) is a technology-based experience that allows children to take an educational journey without leaving the classroom" (p.22). VFTs can take students all over the world. Teachers have the opportunity to create VFTs that connect to the curriculum. While teachers are able to create their own VFT, there are also trips available for free online. VFTs can be used in any classroom, including early childhood classrooms (grades pre-k to 2nd). Technology does not need to be the most advanced for teachers to be able to implement VFT into their classroom. Lukes (2014) mentioned that VFT can be used using “a relatively low-techs solution that would work on any computer or smart device without internet access, special software, large amounts of memory or hours of training” (p. 25). While many classrooms may have computers, laptops, or iPads for students as well as interactive whiteboards, some teachers may only have a computer and a projector. These teachers can still provide VFTs for their students. VFTs also offer flexibility. A teacher could create a multi-part VFT to be completed over several days. This keeps students interested, engaged, and excited about school. They would keep coming back for more. Spreading out the VFT also assists students who have difficulty focusing.
Trends and Issues
Using VFTs in classrooms has many benefits, the first being cost. VFTs are free and do not require parent permission forms. VFTs also give teachers the ability to show students far away locations they may not get to experience otherwise. A teacher in Indiana could take her students on a VFT to Washington DC to tour the White House. One teacher in Indiana did just th...
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...the information, teachers can start creating their virtual field trip. Teachers can make their own website using Weebly, PB Works, or other online programs. They could also create a prezi or power point to create their VFT. Lukes (2014), discusses adding hyperlinks to different areas of the trip. These hyperlinks can help expand student learning. If you are visiting the rainforest, it can link to different sounds that students would encounter. If you are taking a trip to learn about Native Americans, it could be a link to a video about the American Indian museum. When creating a VFT it is important to keep in mind what is appropriate for your students. Teachers also need to consider how to present the material, and how long the VFT will last. If the teacher feels that the VFT may take several hours, they might considering how they could complete it in separate days.
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