Why talk about other countries when you can see them for yourself? Bring history and culture to life by allowing students to visit and explore natural wonders, historical monuments, museums and far away places right from your classroom.
Creating a virtual field trip takes planning and preparation, just like a real field trip! Give yourself plenty of time to gather resources and develop lessons for your trip. The more you plan, the better the experience! Each trip will incorporate the following elements:
Students need to know where they are going, how they are getting there, and how they need to manage their time. Provide students with clear instructions on how they will take their tour (Google Earth, Maps, websites, etc.) and what “stops” they will make along their tour. Bonus for math students: budgeting for hotels, transportation, restaurants, gear, etc. while keeping track of local currencies.
SOUVENIRS AND ARTIFACTS
Set clear expectations on what “souvenirs and artifacts” your students will create or bring back after their “trip.” This might include completing a worksheet, taking screenshots, or collecting information to incorporate into a presentation, video, or website.
IN THE CLASSROOM
Watch how social studies teacher Bobby Lake uses Tour Builder to get his students excited about history.
A growing collection of tools and resources will help your students take a virtual trip. Here are some options to consider:
Google Lit Trips: A collection of free virtual field trips based on popular novels read in grades K-12, including The Diary of Anne Frank, The Kite Runner, and Make Way for Ducklings. They include everything you need to take a virtual field trip! Learn more
Files downloaded from the Google Lit Trip Library and opened on a Chromebook will open in Google Tour Builder or My Maps.
My Maps: Create a custom tour using My Maps by Google. You can create custom place markers, add questions, videos, images, and more! My Maps is integrated with Google Drive, and finished maps are easy to share with students. Learn more
Google Tour Builder: An easy-to-use tool to develop your own virtual tours. This tool would be easy for students to use to create and share their own virtual field trips. Tour Builder also features a gallery of tours created by others. Learn more
Google Street View: Walk along the streets of Rome or visit Stonehenge in England. Street View features street-level photography of thousands of locations across the globe. You really feel like you are there! Learn more
EarthCam: Check out the world in real-time using EarthCam, a massive network of live webcams from New York to New Zealand and beyond.
Virtual Scavenger Hunt: This tool is ideal for teaching history, geography, and science alike! Create a global scavenger hunt for important sites related to your subject, and let students collect “coins” for every one they find.
Google Cultural Institute: Interested in art, architecture, or historical artifacts? The Google Cultural Institute provides the ability to create your own custom museum exhibit of famous works of art and primary source material from around the world. You can also take a virtual tour of some of the world’s most amous museums, like the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. Learn more
GOOGLE EARTH SUPPORT
While Google Earth has been a longtime favorite of both teachers and students, it is not compatible with Chromebooks. Google Earth tours can be exported as .kmz files which can be viewed using Google Tour Builder. Learn more
Virtual Field trips provide an opportunity to incorporate Virtual Reality (VR) into the classroom. Google Street View and and Google Expeditions provide great opportunities for students to immerse themselves in a new place and culture. VR experiences require access to a mobile device (iOS or Android) and a VR viewer such as Google Cardboard. Students can experience spaces with their mobile device and complete their “artifacts” using a Chromebook.
Download a free chapter of my book, The Chromebook Classroom!