Do you use virtual field trips as a learning activity?'s Teacher Poll of the Week
Do you use virtual field trips as a learning activity?

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Virtual field trips (VFT) are a way to present an experience to students without ever leaving the classroom. Some of the more sophisticated ones are conducted in real time allowing students to ask questions and receive response just as they would if they were actually at the location. It is impossible to take a classroom full of students to Antarctica, but VFTs have meant that students have been able to question scientists stationed there.

A slight minority of teachers reported that they have used VFT as a learning activity in their classrooms. With modern technology and the use of the World Wide Web, the learning possibilities are almost limitless. Although these types of "trips" have been around since 1995 they have grown in popularity in recent years.

The benefits to students are incredible from more than a learning perspective. Imagine having a classroom full of children whose parents are unable to afford actual field trips. Some teachers face just such a situation on a daily basis. Virtual field trips allow those children to experience things that would never have been possible twenty years ago. How about students with mobility issues? There's no need to worry that this child will miss out on the experience through no fault of their own.

The fact that so many teachers have used this educational tool is proof positive that as a profession, teachers push the envelope on a daily basis to provide students with the best education possible. From a budgetary standpoint the idea of VFTs makes sense as well. Prescribed learning outcomes can be met without spending precious resources on travel or additional textbooks. In addition, nothing beats getting the information straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak. Hearing a scientist speak from Antarctica or questioning underground miners brings a reality to learning that many students thrive on.

Perhaps some of these students will be inspired by the experience in such a way as to influence their career path. Stranger things have happened. Hopefully more teachers will be able to embrace this new technology and find a way to incorporate it into their classrooms. Perhaps the next time this question is posed, the results will reveal that a majority of teachers are using virtual field trips. It will be interesting to see the developing trend.