More and more teachers are using technology in the classroom. I’ve found an excellent tool for integrating technology in the classroom is by creating a virtual field trip. The activity is fun for the students. They almost don’t know they are studying! The virtual field trip is also a great way to access different learning styles in the class.
A virtual field trip works with just about any subject or grade level. Choose sites to visit that are informative and fun – I suggest sending the students to at least one site that contains a game of some sort that will allow them to assess the learning material.
Consider your audience. The level of the field trip will depend on the grade level of the students. A higher grade level can handle surfing the web better than say 1st graders.
Be logical. Try not to send the students willy nilly all over the place. Make the field trip follow a logical narrative form. Make sure it has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Speak (write) normally, in a conversational tone. You are the tour guide on this field trip. Sound like you are having fun and fill the field trip with an adventurous and exciting tone.
Embed links. Obviously, you will be sending the students to other sites. Embed links that open in a separate browser, so they can return to the field trip directions when they need to. Keep the navigating simple. Tell the students exactly what they should look for when they arrive at their destination.
Use color and pictures. No one wants to be bored when taking a field trip. The virtual field trip directions should use bold and colorful fonts. Don’t be afraid to use different size fonts when planning your tour guide.
Engage students. Have specific directions for each site the student visits. What are they looking for? Do they need to write something down?
Assess. End the tour by directing the students to a site that tests their knowledge of the subject – this could be a game or a quiz. Be sure to tell them how to turn in their assessment (print the final page, etc.)
Save it. Make a special web page for your field trip that you can use over and over again.
Accommodate. Help students who need special accommodations by printing out the tour guide sheet, so they can have a physical piece of paper to refer back to as they travel through the sites.