Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration Refines Mission to Focus on Narrowing Opportunity Gaps for Young Students and Educators

North Mankato, Minn. (Feb. 23, 2022) — The Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC), a nonprofit dedicated to breaking down educational barriers through virtual, interactive learning, today announced an updated mission that focuses on leveling the playing field for young students and educators.

As part of its refocused strategy, the company is launching a host of new programs and virtual field trips for students and educators, along with a new website that makes it easier for visitors to discover all that CILC has to offer.

“The pandemic and the many disparities it highlighted prompted us – like many organizations around the world – to take an inward look at our core values and home in on our ‘whys of service,’” said Glenn Morris, CILC’s executive director. “As a result, we realized it was time to update and refresh our brand and strategic plan to achieve our mission of connecting children and educators with inspiring and engaging virtual learning experiences that narrow opportunity gaps.”…Read More

Interactive virtual learning–pandemic stopgap, or here to stay?

Virtual field trips or expeditions have gained in popularity in recent years, and the COVID-19 global pandemic has given the concept a boost as schools and now parents scramble to bring relevant, stimulating learning experiences out of the classroom and into their pupils’ new reality. Now, a year into the pandemic, classrooms are beginning to reopen, but the practicality and benefit of interactive virtual learning has drawn growing appreciation throughout the field of education.

Educators everywhere have come to acknowledge how easily interactive virtual learning gives students the experience of a real field trip without leaving their homes — or their hometowns.

The heart of the interactive experience is live conversations with educators and experts who are passionate about their work and love to share their knowledge with eager learners. Museum curators, historians, authors, researchers, and other expert instructors engage directly with students during the virtual expedition to create a rich, compelling learning environment.…Read More

Interactive Field Trips Offered to Educators for Black History Month, President’s Day, Women’s History Month and Earth Day

In preparation for several upcoming significant historical, cultural and societal events, the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC) has curated a list of live, interactive virtual field trips that educators can access to enrich discussions surrounding Black History Month, President’s Day, Women’s History Month and Earth Day. The diverse list of interactive learning experiences ranges from an immersive underground railroad experience to an exploration of women war reporters who have made indelible marks in the world of journalism. Several of the offerings are free to the public, while others have a fee associated.

Virtual expeditions have gained in popularity in recent years and even more so since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic. What sets CILC and its content collaborators’ programs apart from traditional web-based experiences (prerecorded) is the live interactive aspect. Museum curators, historians, authors, researchers, and other expert instructors engage directly with students during the virtual field trip to create a richer learning environment. The selections below offer an engaging resource to educators who want to expand their curriculum in a unique and authentic manner.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH, FEBRUARY 2021…Read More

10 exciting in-person and virtual STEM field trips

STEM field trips are no longer limited to traditional science centers–today’s STEM trips are interactive, engaging, and bring classroom concepts to life for students.

Every student loves a field trip, and with a little planning, it can be mostly fun and low-stress for teachers and chaperones.

One of the best things about a STEM field trip is that it gives students a chance to apply their classroom learning to a real-life situation. This kind of engagement helps students see how professionals use STEM each day, and it also prompts them to consider STEM for their own future.…Read More

5 useful tips to get the most out of virtual field trips

To help educators save time, we’ve put together a quick recap on how to prepare for your next virtual field trip (VFT) and five of the best VFT’s based on their relevancy, quality of resources, and potential for student excitement. Student engagement starts with excitement, so get planning!

Prepare: Like any lesson plan, consider how you can prepare your students. First, don’t forget the standards, curriculum, and content you are helping your students uncover. By connecting these virtual field trip experiences to content that you want students to learn, you can ensure students come to the event ready to participate. Also look for pre-event activities your students can participate in. Not only do these activities promote student thinking about what might happen during the virtual field trip, they also allow you to create connections to the specific content you wish to cover.

Engage and connect: During the event, make sure that you take advantage of any virtual connections that are possible, such as submitting questions for panelists before or during the event, or participating in Twitter backchannel conversations as the VFT unfolds. Your participation helps guide live panelists and provides your students the opportunity to be recognized. There’s not too much more exciting then hearing your class’s name and question read aloud during a live virtual field trip.…Read More

zSpace creating virtual field trips for Google Expeditions

zSpace announced they are working with Google to create an end-to-end virtual reality classroom experience that combines the power of zSpace’s interactive Screen VR technology with the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program. Students will be introduced to learning content through the vivid photo and video Expeditions followed by in-depth exploration opportunities in zSpace.

Google and zSpace will begin the program for back-to-school 2016 and showcase the virtual reality classroom experience at conferences and tradeshows in the United States. Through the partnership, zSpace and Google aim to reach and inspire hundreds of thousands of students during the 2016-2017 school year and beyond.

“zSpace is thrilled to collaborate with Google to bring more virtual reality content to our customers and, more importantly, to work together to define and understand the ways that experience virtual reality can transform learning.” said Paul Kellenberger, zSpace CEO.…Read More

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What Google’s virtual field trips look like in the classroom

Google Expeditions are field trips with a virtual reality twist

google-expeditions Last spring, Hector Camacho guided his high school economics class on comprehensive tours of the New York Stock Exchange, Federal Reserve banks, and the Treasury Building. Students swept their eyes up countless Neoclassical columns before heading inside for a detailed look — all without leaving the library of their Mountain View, California school.

The catch? Students were plugged into Google’s latest virtual reality creation — Expeditions, which creates immersive, 360-degree tours out of a cardboard viewer and a smartphone.

“The best thing about it that we can’t physically go to these faraway places,” Camacho said. “At the high school level, time is really precious. For field trips, you have to worry about buses, lunches, permission slips. If you can remove all those obstacles, still take them to a very faraway place, and give them a similar experience, that’s powerful.”…Read More

Engaging virtual field trip apps, resources

Virtual field trips can broaden students’ educational experiences and increase engagement

virtual-fieldOnce a foreign concept, virtual field trips and tours have skyrocketed in popularity, due in part to tight school budgets and a growth in classroom mobile technology tools.

Schools save time and money when students can explore national and international landmarks from their classrooms, and educators have access to a vast number of resources that expand students’ learning opportunities. Virtual field trips help engage students even at a time when financing such trips in person isn’t feasible.

As their application and popularity have grown, so, too, have organizations offering virtual field trip software and resources. From exploring national museums to navigating famous caves in France, there’s a virtual field trip for nearly everyone.…Read More

Google connects teachers with virtual field trips

Virtual field trips now available on Google’s ‘Connected Classrooms’ platform

virtual-field-tripsMicrosoft has connected teachers with virtual field trips for quite some time through its free “Skype in the classroom” service. Now, the company’s chief rival in the productivity software market is pushing virtual field trip experiences as well.

In an effort to boost teacher collaboration and cultivate digital skills in students, Google+ on Nov. 4 launched Connected Classrooms, a program that connects K-12 teachers with virtual field trip resources and best practices.

Virtual field trips have always been available on Google+, but the Google+ Education Partnership Team sees Connected Classrooms as a more formal way for teachers to locate virtual field trips and connect with other educators in a thriving community.…Read More

Google+ links teachers, virtual field trips

Google+ virtual field trips will support community of teachers and academic partners

google-field-tripIn an effort to boost teacher collaboration and cultivate digital skills in students, Google+ on Nov. 4 launched Connected Classrooms, a program that connects K-12 teachers with virtual field trip resources and best practices.

Virtual field trips have always been available on Google+, but the Google+ Education Partnership Team sees Connected Classrooms as a more formal way for teachers to locate virtual field trips and connect with other educators in a thriving community.

“This is really just the beginning of where we see Connected Classrooms going,” said Lisa Jiang, Google+ Education Partnerships Lead. “We see this as an opportunity to not just attend a virtual field trip, but for teachers to become more proactive in using digital tools to help equip their students with the skills they need for digital citizenship.”…Read More