Featured Website of the Month (Sept.) - Virtual Field Trips Part 1
Book the bus, find parent volunteers, fill out paperwork, make name tags for students, find parent volunteers, set a schedule, visit the site to get yourself oriented, and did I mention find parent volunteers?? As any teacher knows, field trips are a blast! BUT they are a TON of work! I can’t even count how many hours I have spent putting together field trips and stressing about how to make things run smoothly. Don’t get me wrong, I love field trips and I know field trip days are the kids’ favorite days, which is why I decided to look into some awesome virtual field trips.
Virtual field trips take you to places you might not be able to visit with your students, like the Great Pyramids in Egypt. Could you imagine trying to plan that field trip?! Virtual field trips open the world for students to discover things that they might not be able to see otherwise. Just like in a physical field trip, many virtual field trips give students control over what to see and where they want to explore. So, for this blog post, instead of focusing on only one virtual field trip website, we’re going to explore a few different ones that you could use in your classroom or at home. We’re going to look at several locations to “visit”. And stay tuned for next month, when we look at quality animal webcams to use in the classroom.
First on the list is the Great Pyramids of Egypt (here’s the link if you want to hyperlink it → https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/pyramid/explore/) This website is geared toward older students, like middle school aged because there is a lot of writing on the webpage. That being said, with a teacher’s help, younger students could navigate it as well. The website includes clickable diagrams and a gallery where you can explore a 360-degree view of the burial chambers and passages. Some of the areas are closed to the public, so you can only see them through the virtual tour. How cool is that! Please note that you will need to install the QuickTime plugin in order to enjoy the tour.
Next, we’re going to travel to the White House. (here’s the link if you want to hyperlink it → https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/the-white-house) This website could be used for any age because it is mostly 360-degree images that you scroll through. There is writing on the right side panel that older students can read, or the teacher can read to younger students. This website offers three tours: Virtual Tour of the Eisenhower Executive Office, Virtual Tour of the Art and Decor on the Ground Floor, and Virtual Tour of the Art and Decor on the State Floor. All the images are high resolution so you feel like your standing in the room. You are able to click and drag the image around, and also click down the halls to journey into different rooms. This website is very similar to how you can click and drag on the street view of Google Maps.
Have you ever wanted to see the view from the top of the Empire State Building? It’s 102 stories tall! With this virtual tour, you can. (https://www.iloveny360.com/panorama/empire-state-building-102th-floor) This virtual tour could be only a few minutes long or it could take longer, depending on what you want to do. This website is a rotating picture of the view from the top of the Empire States Building. There are also markers that you can click on which will take you to the top of other prominent buildings in the city. Some views are set in the day and some views are set at night. If nothing else, this website would give students a better understanding of just how far New York City extends.
Last on our list for this blog post is the Great Wall of China. (http://www.airpano.com/360photo/China-Great-Wall/) This website is full of high resolution 360-degree photos of the Great Wall, with some basic information. You can click along the wall to get to other viewpoints as well. The website is complete with music, to give the students a more complete sense of being in China.
Virtual tours are awesome because they allow students to experience places that they might not be able to visit. Virtual tours help to open the world to students and get them outside their own little world. These are just a few of the many virtual tours out there and next month, I will be featuring some quality animal webcams. Do you have a favorite virtual tour? I’d love to expand my list!
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