As budgets get tighter for schools around the country, more and more schools are turning to “virtual field trips”. This is not a new phenomenon; these have existed for years and have grown as the internet and the ability to connect has grown. However, the scope of these trips and the ability to personalize the experience through Skype or Facetime, Google Hangouts, is pretty amazing.
To my mind at the top of the list is the Google Cultural Institute with breathtaking images of art , wonders of the world and so much more. If you haven’t checked it out- take the time. This is not just for art, not just for world languages. You can use this site for history, for science and more. They have an excellent selection of videos on their YouTube channel as well.
Exploring By The Seat Of Your Pants is a new site that you may find interesting.
Quote from their website: "The primary goal of Exploring By The Seat Of Your Pants is to knockdown the classroom walls and take students anywhere in the world, never having to leave their desks. We aim to accomplish this by connecting students with unique guest speaker lessons and virtual field trips from around the world. Our focus is providing lessons related to science, adventure and conservation, but won't be limited to these areas!"
Looking for stunning 360 panoramas?Check out Air Pano
AirPano is a not-for-profit project focused on high-resolution spherical panorama shots from a bird’s eye view. Being the largest resource for 360° aerial panoramas and virtual tours in the world – by geographical coverage, number of aerial photographs, and artistic and technical quality of the images, AirPano has already photographed over two hundred most interesting locations on our planet. There are nearly two thousand 360° panoramas on our website at the moment.
Bromo-Volcano-Indonesia ( this may take a minute to load)
Scholastic has some great virtual field trips. Some, like this one are tied to books or even take you on a trip to a museum. http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/collection/teaching-brian-selznick-including-virtual-field-trip
Google has launched their new Expeditions virtual reality system and has been getting a lot of press about it. You can read more about it on their blog or check out the NY Times article from 9/29/15
Here's a short quote from these articles:
"These trips were all made possible by Expeditions, a new educational tool coming this fall that allows teachers to take their classes on field trips to anywhere. From the Expeditions app on their tablet, a teacher is able to send synchronized three-dimensional 360° panoramas to each student’s Cardboard viewer, pointing out areas of interest in real time and instantly pausing the trip when needed. Used in conjunction with existing lessons and curriculum, Expeditions immerses students in experiences that bring abstract concepts to life and provide a deeper understanding of the world beyond the classroom."
Skype Virtual Field Trips
Using Skype or other ways to virtually break down your classroom walls is not only a great way to connect with other classrooms around the world, but you can also go on virtual field trips. You can virtually visit other places in the world and SKype with experts in various fields.
The following video is an example: " Journalist Anna Therese Day introduces students from a local school on the remote island of Kiribati with a group of American students in Seattle to talk about climate change and give the kids a chance to gain a new perspective on the issue. Check out Skype in the Classroom for more lessons about the environment. "
Discovery Education is another great resource for virtual field trips. They have a collection of archived virtual fieldtrips that you can watch, new trips coming up and currently have a wonderful trip to Kilimanjaro that they are broadcasting. Here are thecurrent links and the archived trips.
An old favorite of mine is Google Lit trips. You can use Google Earth or Google Maps to create your own trip around any topic, but I always enjoy the trips about books.
This is a quote from the site :
"So What exactly are Google Lit Trips?
The short version is simple. Google Lit Trips are free downloadable files that mark the journeys of characters from famous literature on the surface of Google Earth. At each location along the journey there are placemarks with pop-up windows containing a variety of resources including relevant media, thought provoking discussion starters, and links to supplementary information about “real world” references made in that particular portion of the story. "
Whoops- Almost forgot... Google Map Tour Builder. This is in beta, but has potential. Like building a tour with Google Earth, but looks easier to use. Here's an example from a 5th grade teacher.
Still Looking for more? Check out the Connected Classrooms Workshop a Google plus community online... lots of ways to connect as well as virtual field trips.