As schools grapple with budget cuts and rising fuel costs, many districts are finding it necessary to reduce or eliminate field trips, leaving students and teachers with a surprisingly attractive option--virtual field trips.

Virtual field trips typically involve students using video conferencing software or using a simple web browser to visit an online destination, such as the web site of a national museum, that offers virtual tours through the facility and up-close, three-dimensional views of geological formations, art work, and so on. They are different from webquests, which tend to be inquiry-based activities in which students use the internet to answer...

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