Linking our Classrooms to the World using Virtual Field Trips
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The ability to take students beyond the classroom walls and into the community for a field-trip is not always easy or possible. These limitations have never been more true than during the current pandemic facing our global community. With ISB’s investment in new video conferencing and computer stations, we can bring the world into the classroom. Recently, students in grade 1 started their unit on “The World Around Us” and began by looking at different homes people live in. The online Virtual Field Trip application was a perfect opportunity to take students to see how others live. By accessing Google Earths’ “This Is Home” resource, students could visit traditional homes in our global community. Students moved through the virtual space looking outside and inside different structures, and discussed the materials and construction techniques. The students showed a keen interest, especially at the homes on beaches and in the snow.
Technologies like Google Earths’ Virtual Field Trips help give learners rich visual experiences that can profoundly affect their long-term understanding of a topic. To augment declarative (consciously recalled memory) and procedural memory (unconscious, long-term memory) limitations, developing activities that tap into our episodic memory helps create lasting knowledge and understanding. We no longer need to rely on getting on a bus to experience how others live and work; through the use of transformative resources like “This is Home,” students can expand their understanding of a topic and have a memorable event. Still, I think we would prefer to visit the beach in person!
Ryan Bollhorn, Technology Integration Specialist