It's Like Virtually Being There! Virtual Field Trips Your Students Will Love

With many schools shut down and field trips or outside visits non-existent right now, students are itching for engaging educational activities. During quarantine, many educational places of interest and destinations have launched virtual field trips to scratch that on-site learning itch! Our Advisory Board member, Rebecca, lists some easily accessible websites and platforms (many of which are free!) that you can "bring" to your classroom.

Updated on: January 12, 2021

Student taking a remote learning virtual field trip

Feeling boxed in these days?  We can all relate to the feeling that quarantining has left us yearning to get outside and interact with others. In fact, adults and children alike are getting antsy and want to experience life and learning beyond the four walls of their homes. And now that school is back in session, students may be feeling this more than ever if they are doing fully remote, hybrid, or homeschooling. Teachers who have always delivered instruction in a classroom housed in a school can’t help but feel that their students are “missing out” by not having a live teacher and peers surrounding them in a shared setting. Parents empathize with their children since they can’t attend events or engage in experiences outside of the home or classroom, including sports, extracurricular activities, and field trips.

Teachers will tell you that showing is better than telling, an old adage which conveys that experiencing something—and not just talking about it—has more impact. In fact, data shows that hands-on learning is not only more engaging for students, but allows them to interact with the topics and subjects they’re studying on a much deeper level. And, this reinforces the theory of multiple intelligences learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile), upon which the fundamentals of teaching the whole child are based.

Since it’s likely to be a while before we can venture out full-time into schools, offices or public and recreational settings, many companies have launched interactive platforms to engage students without having to leave their home computer desks. One such way is through virtual field trips, which have supplanted live field trips since the onset of the pandemic—so if you can’t bring your students on-site to your destination, bring the destination to your students or classroom!

Time4Learning

Time4Learning provides myriad virtual field trips based on different topics and interests. One of the most unique features is there is a virtual field trip list for each of the fifty states. Each state has museums, zoos, historical landmarks, and more that you can take your students on a virtual trip to. Each state comes with an educator’s guide.

Discovery Education

Discovery Education has an extensive library of virtual field trips based on subject and grade level. They have pre-recorded videos of a virtual trip and/or you can schedule a live virtual trip. The library even includes Social-Emotional Learning virtual field trips. They are constantly updated and Discovery adds new experiences weekly. 

Nearpod

Nearpod includes unique interactive lessons that can turn any lesson into a virtual field trip. Students will see videos, pictures, and respond to questions live about the experience. Some of the trips include visiting a volcano, going inside a cell, and more. The Nearpod is a guided lesson that allows students to constantly interact with the teacher and collaborate with each other. 

Google Arts & Culture

Google Arts & Culture offers all different types of interactive experiences—from visits to exotic destinations like Rio while experiencing events like Carnival, virtual field trips to museums to view artwork or even “play with art” using machine learning, or use 360° to see dinosaurs in augmented reality. And anyone with a Google account can access it!

Field Trip Zoom

Field Trip Zoom is not a free program, but it does offer a free month trial. You could plan and use that month to create many unique experiences for your students. For example, you can schedule to have a live lesson given by experts in unique locations, such as visiting a farm, learning about animals in a zoo from an animal trainer, or even talking to a real-life astronaut. Students are able to interact with the expert and ask questions live.