Zanetis, J. (2010). The Beginner's guide to interactive virtual field trips. Learning and Leading with Technology, 37.
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This article focuses on online distance learning as an option for schools to provide for students instead of going on field trips. Today, field trips have become very expensive. Many schools can’t take their students on field trips to enrich their education. Virtual field trips provide them with a great option to do so. There are non interactive field trips and there are interactive field trips. The asynchronous virtual field trips are not delivered in real time. They provide websites that include text, audio, or video. The interactive virtual field trips are in real time and synchronous. It gives students the possibility to interact with peers far away that they might not have had the opportunity to do otherwise.
I really enjoyed the article. It gave me a lot of new information and ideas. What better way than have the field trip come to you instead of the other way around. In smaller cities, suburbs, or towns this might be a great option. Interactive virtual field trips or just virtual field trips, can really open up the door for many students. With an interactive field trip you can visit countries and different parts of the USA. Students can learn from each other when studying different subjects. Students that won’t be able to travel to certain museums can now visit the museums in school.
Can a virtual field trip replace the experience you have in person when you take a regular field trip?
To me the computer will never replace the “real life experience” but it is a fabulous option. We as teachers are able to give more to our students if we use virtual field trips. The field trip that is not delivered in real time is also very good. What you need is a computer and that is it. Very simple but you can still accomplish a great deal to make it feel real. As students become more and more used to working in a real time environment, I believe you can probably “loose” yourself and forget for a moment that you are actually just sitting in front of a computer participating in the field trip. Just like when students are on Facebook and chat with their friends, the picture of their friends is on the screen so it feels very real and very close. In the future, it would be great if schools actually could provide this technology for their students. For students that can’t afford or did not make the list for the 8th grade east coast trip (they only take so many students so if you are too late to sign up you can’t go and the cost is $2500.00 per student for one week) the virtual interactive trip would be great. The teachers are not allowed to teach anything anyways because the students that are on the trip can’t miss out on academics for a whole week. The students that are left behind just sit in the class room all week and watch movies and play games. How about some Interactive VFT instead???
Is it really that easy to get assistance to get started if your school does not have the equipment?
Seems to me the article makes it sound easy to receive financial help to get started on this. If this was true, how come more schools don’t do it? It sounds too easy to get assistance for the set up of the Interactive VFT. How many companies are you going to come across that are willing to demo equipment without actually purchasing it? Also, how easy is it to receive grants? I guess there are many more questions within the question. But bottom line is the money to implement it even if it is cheaper than a regular field trip.