Are you looking for new and different ways to engage your students with their lessons that are not the same traditional field trips? Have you thought about a virtual reality field trip? The face of education is in a constant state of change and evolution as new things are innovated and made readily available. Combinations of the current pandemic, increased technology, and a desire to think out of the box have made teachers look at new ways of offering field trips and immersing their students in other worlds. Virtual reality field trips are becoming more and more widely used. They broaden the experiences a student can have.
Nearpod is a company that specializes in virtual reality field trips. It has lessons for teachers to select. The range of topics and skill levels can help any teacher in every classroom. The lessons are pre-created for use and keep students engaged in the topic through immersive information.
What is better than reading about a location far away? Students can visit these places virtually!
It makes these virtual lessons easy for teachers through premade lessons around interactive activities and videos. If you want to be the creative type, you can also make your lesson materials and save them into NearPod for easy access. It also tracks what your students are working on and their progress. NearPod is a versatile program that can be used by any student.
Okay, so maybe not traveling through time, but it’s a nice thought. It’s all about bringing history to life for students. Many students would call history a boring class or something they will never use after school. You can make it fun and interactive so that they forget about the “boring” parts of it.
Give students time to explore and get a feel of what life was like years ago. Perhaps a scavenger hunt to find information. Students can take lessons a step further if they would like. They can create a project on a day in the life of a child in history. Get them in the period and feel like they lived there.
Virtual escape room
Escape rooms have been around for a while now, but did you know they make them virtually, too? Talk about being fully immersed in the lesson and engaged. Students tend to enjoy a little friendly competition amongst themselves. How about a game to see which team can break the code faster and escape? Make the learning fun and different that they don’t realize it’s a lesson. Watch them get excited when they break a code and get to move on to another clue. Watch as they get frustrated and use their problem-solving and communication skills to work together and push past the obstacles.
There are games available in so many different themes and levels. If they have to solve riddles to get the clues and escape, why not match it to the lesson in the classroom. So many different options are out there and can easily correlate to classroom lessons.
Google Earth VR
Everyone knows Google. Most people know of Google maps. They have taken it one step further with their virtual reality platform, Google Earth VR. Google Maps is utilized in conjunction with VR headsets or on a regular screen. You control where in the world you go and what you get to explore.
Want to visit the top of the Space Needle or see the rainforests? With Google Earth virtual reality trips, the possibilities are endless. There are no boundaries to what they can explore and learn. Imagine getting so close to an erupting volcano that you can see the lava pop as it flows. In the real world, it would be impossible to get that close without causing injury. The use of drones, and other remote video technology, allows people to see things we never could before.
Have you ever wondered about how someone dealt with something? Are you a curious person? Kids are known for being inquisitive. StoryCorps comes to the rescue for students like this. What better way to learn about history or an event than to hear it from the account of someone who lived it? StoryCorps is great for history. It is full of interviews with people from all walks of life who want to share their stories.
Students can look into the lives they’re interested in, creating a unique assignment for themselves. Not every student will want to look into the same information, but now they don’t have to.
This virtual reality field trip opens the students up to hear stories and interviews from people they never would otherwise have the chance to know.
One neat thing about all the new technology is that it opens the students’ world to explore new interests and topics.
In a lesson on geography, who says all the students have to study the same location? Virtual reality field trips allow each student to choose their destination and dive into something specific to themselves.
Many of the museums in multiple countries have online virtual visits available. Students can sit in their classroom and visit a museum halfway around the globe and experience information they may not have the chance to see otherwise. For example, a middle school student can be at their desk in the middle of Texas and take a peek at the Louvre in France on a Tuesday afternoon.
Students make memories on field trips! Think back to your days in school, and some of the most precious memories are of field trips. If you are not able to take your class on a field trip, taking a virtual one is a great option. It can enrich any curriculum and increase engagement among students. Students will retain more information by having a virtual reality experience to activate the senses in the learning process.
So, I’m going ‘out on a limb’ here. Hopefully a parent of my previous students does not read this article. However, with that being said none of my students were harmed or were in any potential harm.
The Field Trip 101 checklist is to assist you in planning at a high level, and to help guide conversations to determine the particulars of the field trip, and ultimately save you and those around you time!
Maybe you aren’t adventurous, but rather, you are an entertainer. Actors, singers, and even stand-up comedians provide some much-needed entertainment for the world