Virtual Field Trips


Jenny Qiu, Staff Writer

From watching wild animals in Africa to learning about the history of the British monarchy in a tour of Buckingham Palace to exploring the wonders of the International Space Station, anything is possible with virtual field trips. Recently, students have been unable to leave the house or gather in large groups due to the ongoing pandemic. However, the isolating nature of online learning has made learning a lot more different. Virtual field trips provide a new and exciting way for students to once again be immersed in learning.

So how exactly do virtual field trips work? Users interact with this innovation through a guided exploration using the Internet. These platforms have organized a collection of pre-screened, thematically based web pages into a structured online learning experience. Users can naturally follow along, look at the pictures, and click on interactive links or buttons; when clicked, it may produce sound effects or videos. These pictures are a real representation of the field trip location. As the users go through each picture, it is as if they are walking through guided exploration in real life. 

“I once took a virtual tour of an art museum and it was really easy to navigate. I could clearly see each art piece, and there was also audio that I could listen to,” said senior Charisse Liu. “I could definitely see more classes having virtual field trips because it’s really convenient and still very enjoyable.” 

Although virtual field trips are especially relevant now, they can be just as beneficial in a normal school setting. With the ability to customize these virtual field trips based on a teacher’s curriculum, students can reach their educational goals in a different way than traditional learning. For example, rather than simply listening to a lecture about Ellis Island, students can experience the roles of being an immigrant and arriving in Ellis Island through a virtual field trip. 

In addition, these field trips are much more affordable and sometimes, even free. Students can travel anywhere in the world without having to pay for the costs of buses or flights. For example, students in a Spanish language class can interact with students in Mexico through these virtual field trips. This allows them to learn about various cultures and foster connections that better understand the content.

“I think virtual field trips would make school a lot more fun and interesting,” said senior Sofia Mediana. “I can see many classes and curriculums in which virtual field trips can easily be implemented.”

Virtual field trips provide a new way of learning that can be easily integrated into a curriculum and accessible. It provides students with a different experience than a traditional classroom setting, and students are most engaged and absorbed when they are participating in an immersive environment. It will not be long before many classrooms begin to implement virtual field trips!

Here are a few virtual field trips to check out!

Photo Courtesy of ISTOCKPHOTO.COM