UNIT 2: Making sense of virtual field trips

UNIT 1-What are Virtual Field Trips? or Back to Incorporating Virtual Field Trips

Unit Objectives

  • The learner will differentiate advantages and disadvantages of accessing field trips through technology.
  • The learner will be able to identify characteristics of quality virtual field trips.
  • The learner will be able to identify the obstacles to accessing virtual field trip providers and how to overcome those obstacles.

Unit Overview

Technology is continuing to improve which means the way in which interactions are done in virtual field trips will change too. No matter what medium is used to connect, the importance of quality and standards will remain. In this unit we will analyze virtual reality field trip advantages and disadvantages, and identify the technology and materials needed to access virtual field trips.

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Write your answers to the following prompts in the Unit 2 pre-assessment discussion area.

1. Write any questions at this time you have about integrating virtual field trips.

2. Finish this sentence: My feelings about using a virtual field trip in my curriculum are....

Mini Lecture

We discussed the differences between traditional and virtual field trips in Unit 1. Through your reading you should have also begun to identify the benefits and advantages that virtual field trips provide. Though there are many advantages for the learner there are also some you may need to keep in mind for you the teacher.

As you read:

Keep your pre-assessment questions in mind.

Pay attention to ways in which you can identify quality programs.

1. Field Trips Through Videoconferencing

2. How do you choose the right virtual field trip?

In your reading you should have noticed some key characteristics of a quality program:

1- Standard based or core aligned

2-Supplemental hands on materials (pre, during, or after lesson)

3-Policies for failed connections

4-Coordinators who assist with program planning and technology troubleshooting.

These are suggestions to look for, especially for programs requiring a fee. However, not all programs may have all of the characteristics listed.

In most cases virtual field trips are an extension of the education services a provider may offer in house. If possible they may offer them for free or a cost may be involved in order to keep the program going. As you search for resources do not be surprised if some programs you come across are no longer available. There could be various reasons a program may not be available anymore including loss of funding if it was funded by a grant. Do not get discouraged! There are plenty of great programs available in all forms of presentation.

This is also why it is helpful to use sites that organize content providers and their programs all in one place. The event is then already organized for you. Additionally, they will assist in trouble shooting and performing a test ahead of time with you, if you do not have a technology person on staff.


The following programs are organizations that are research based and tie into technology education.

1. The Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration is the premier one-stop website where organizations can find programs that align with curriculum, reserve programming, and proceed to the interaction with the content provider (www.cilc.org). Keep in mind this program offers free programs. You will need to search for them or contact them for a free membership.

2. Discovery Educationnot only offers virtual programs but many other educational resources for teachers, parents and students.

3. Field Trip Zoom is an organization that like CILC houses is a one stop shop for virtual programs. They have virtual trips that are free or at cost. They even offer free trial sessions by request to try out and access their provided programs. Give FieldTripZoom Zone a try and experience what everyone is talking about. It’s easy! Simply email us at Free Trial Request » or info@fieldtripzoom.com and ask for the promo code for a two week free trial. Watch a Zoom video or click on the link to visit the site.

The resources I have compiled below I have visited myself to ensure they are still available. Resources:

1. If your looking for story telling, theatre, or music. http://www.connect2texas.net/pages/home/programs/

2. If your looking for astronomy or solar system. http://www.google.com/sky/

3. This site has multiple subjects and you can view previews https://www.virtualfieldtrips.org/slideshow/71-washington-d-c-grades-k-5-preview

Since some virtual field trips are done live it is hard to show actual examples of them taking place. Take a look at what a video conference field trip looks like. What do you notice about the interaction?

1. Jackie Robinson-Civil Rights at the baseball hall of fame. at the baseball hall of fame.

2. The heart at Liberty Science Center

Learning Activity

1. Think about what topics you have coming up in the next 3 to 6 months in your curriculum. Based on what you know so far write down 3 topics you would like to consider using a virtual field trip to enhance the curriculum.

b. Look for any lesson plans or additional materials available online


1. Collaborate with your classmates in the Unit 2 discussion area to construct a table that identifies the advantages (benefits) and disadvantages of virtual field trips. Your goal is to add at least 2 new pieces of information that you obtained from an article in any unit to the table.

Review your questions you had at the start of this unit. See how many of the questions you can now answer on your own. Reference the article or video in which you found this information by including the name in parentheses.

For example: Look at any remaining questions you have. Did any of your classmates have this same question that they had previously answered? If so take a look at their answer to gain understanding.

If you have any questions unanswered, move them to the pre-assessment Discussion area in Unit 3.


Dannenberg, D. (2016). Virtual Field Trips. In The SAGE encyclopedia of online educaion (pp. 1165-1156). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc.





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