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Positive Effect of Virtual Field Trips

by Erica Kasper, Demand Media

    One of the many useful educational tools enabled by modern technology is the virtual field trip. Virtual field trips allow teachers to take classes on interactive adventures by traveling online, opening up new educational experiences for students when physical travel to other locations is impossible to fund or organize. Because they offer a variety of destinations and ease of "travel," virtual field trips can also enable teachers to bring classes to destinations they would otherwise be unable to visit in real life.

    Increased Learning and Understanding

    Students who take virtual field trips learn a great deal about the subjects that they are studying, sometimes as much or more as they might learn while on real-life field trips. Project RED, which conducted a national study of education technology, reported that virtual field trips are a strong tool for teaching and learning when used at least once a month. Furthermore, Dr. Scott Mandel of Pearson Prentice Hall Education notes that, when a virtual field trip is conducted correctly, it can lead students to the same level of learning that actual field trips provide, without the limitations of a physical excursion.

    Low or No Cost for Key Learning Experiences

    Teachers know that classroom budgets are tight. Finding the funds for educational endeavors like field trips can be next to impossible for many classes. Virtual field trips take the monetary pressure off of teachers and students by providing low-cost and no-cost field trip options for classes with Internet access. Project RED concluded that best practices for computers in education, including regular virtual field trips, save money for both classes and schools. No matter where in the world a teacher wishes to take her students, virtual field trips can make the destination possible without taking a dime from the classroom’s coffers.

    Broadening Horizons Further than Ever Before

    Class field trips were once limited to how far a school bus could go; today, virtual field trips prove that the sky itself is not the limit. For students who may not have ever left their home country or even their hometown, virtual field trips provide a doorway to the deep sea, the distant stars and the ancient past. Through a computer interface, a student might be able to see a place that they would otherwise not be able to visit in their lifetime. This wide availability of destinations and experiences can open eyes and broaden interests among students.

    Accommodating Students Without Stress

    When a class takes a real-life field trip, planning the logistics can sometimes be a headache. The teacher must seek out parental chaperones, collect permissions from parents and school administrators, and reserve enough bus space for all. On a virtual field trip, however, the logistics are limited to ensuring that everyone can see and hear what’s on the computer. With an inclusiveness and ease that had previously been unachievable, virtual field trips unlock the entire world for everyone without the need for paperwork and time-consuming levels of planning. It’s a low-stress, low-hassle method for teachers to lead students out of the classroom (virtually speaking) and take them almost anywhere.

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    About the Author

    Erica Kasper has been a professional writer and editor since 1999. Based in Jacksonville, Fla., she has written and edited educational, marketing and web copy for nonprofit organizations, technology companies and online marketing firms. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism (honors) and psychology from Washington and Lee University.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

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