Virtual Field Trips

Virtual field trips provide students with opportunities they may not get to experience otherwise. Where else can you "take a trip" to see Sistine Chapel, the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, or the African grasslands -- all in one day? These tools may also challenge students to think critically about the places they visit. For example, a virtual trip to Pompeii requires students to consider the quality of life in an ancient city. A trip to Chichen Itza will allow them to appreciate and question the Mayas design decisions. Simply, virtual field trips can spark your students' interest and motivate their learning in a specific content area.

The following websites are worth considering for virtual field trips. Some are built as all-inclusive virtual trips with text and audio; others provide only imagery which can be adapted to fit the needs of a lesson.

3D Solar System Web provides a narrated (robotic-sounding) tour of the solar system beginning at the sun and navigating to other planets throughout. Don't let the narration stop you from trying out this site.

Africam offers live African safari webcams, 24/7. You’ll have to watch an advertisement, but once you have, you’ll get a high-quality video with sound.

AirPano hosts beautiful 360-degree views of many of the world's great structures and natural places.

Ancient Observatories: Chichen Itza - Explore Chichen Itza, home to the ancient Maya, with your students. Enjoy maps, images, and activities.

European Virtual Museum - The site provides access to the “Virtual Museum of the European Roots,” where several European museums are viewable thematically to understand European prehistoric culture and heritage.

Explore Mars Now has a 3D walk-through model of a Mars base for the first humans to land on Mars. Over 100 images representing a Mars habitat, a greenhouse, and more in this simulation about what a Mars landing and new colony would entail. A great critical thinking activity site to challenge students of many different ages and abilities.

First Men on the Moon recreates the Apollo 11 moon landing from the viewpoint of the astronauts and mission control. This is a must-see. (added 5/6)

With the Google Art Project website, you can explore 17 different museums from all around the world. Whether you’re interested in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Palace of Versailles in France or the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, you’ll find it here.

The Google Maps Gallery site provides an overview of the most amazing locations you can visit using Street View on Google Maps. You’ll find a huge variety of locations on offer, everything from the snows of Antarctica to Times Square in New York City. Each location allows you to take a virtual walk around.

Internet4Classrooms Virtual Field Trips - A small portal to many traditional virtual field trips.

ItalyGuides hosts a collection of more than 200 virtual panoramas of Italy most famous art city monuments. These can be explored 360° and each of them comes with text written by history of art professionals. Free audio guides are available for download (for iPod or mp3), video in high definition (HDTV), google maps and more than3,000 photos in the photo galleries.

The Louvre - Visit the museum’s exhibition rooms and galleries, contemplate the façades of the Louvre.

Neave Planetarium is an online planetarium that allows users to explore stars and planets across a roving map. A very cool instrument to encourage students to learn more about outer space.

Panoramic Earth - A “growing picture guide to the world” with thousands of 360° panoramas from many locations. Each panorama is linked to Google Maps and comes with local and travel information.

The San Diego Zoo’s website offers a variety of live cameras pointed at the animals in its enclosures. Pick your favorite camera and watch the pandas, elephants, polar bears, apes or condors.

The Secret Annex Online: Anne Frank’s Hiding Place - A 3-D tour of the Dutch home where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Germans for more than two years.
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History - This comprehensive virtual tour allows the visitor to take a virtual, self-guided, room-by-room walking tour of the whole museum.

Smithsonian Wild - More than 200,000 candid photos of animals in the wild. The site features many years of research by the Smithsonian Institution and its collaborators around the world.

Teach Digital’s Virtual Field Trips Discussion Page - A good site to see where virtual field trips are headed in the 21st century with the use of videoconferencing collaborations. Also provides definitions and examples of interactive vs. traditional virtual field trips.

Utah Education Network’s Virtual Field Trips - Browse traditional virtual field trips organized by subject area.

Vatican Museums - See the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s Rooms, and more at this growing virtual site.

The Virtual Field Trips at Tramline - A small collection of traditional virtual field trips. Most are for science, but a few other subjects are represented here, too.

We Choose the Moon is an interactive site that recreates the Apollo 11 mission to the moon in real time using real recordings from the historic launch. Created to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the launch, the site is divided into eleven stages that students may click through and study.

Worldwide Telescope - Turn your computer into a virtual telescope. Bring together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world. Experience narrated guided tours from astronomers and educators featuring interesting places in the sky.

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