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.

What’s your favorite virtual field trip or virtual tour? Make sure to let us know in the comments section below.

(Next page: Virtual field trips and tours)

FieldTripZoom is a cloud-based service that uses high-definition video conferencing technology to help schools connect with museums, libraries, and other content providers who offer virtual field trips or tours. Schools need just a PC or a Mac, high-speed internet, and audio-visual equipment that is most likely already in the school.

The Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration offers a way for educators to search through content provider programs and locate virtual field trips, tours, and distance learning resources.

The Life of Art,iPad, Free
How do objects end up in a museum? Discover the answer to that question from the artworks themselves in this app from the J. Paul Getty Museum. The Life of Art app enables users to retrace the lives of a lidded bowl, a silver fountain, a side chair, and a wall light in the Getty’s collection by examining physical clues. The interactive app features stunning photography, animations, video, and 360 rotations that bring the rich biographies of these objects to life.

Smithsonian Mobile, iPhone/iPad, Android, Free
Smithsonian Mobile is your digital mobile guide to the Smithsonian, built collaboratively with our visitors. Find out what’s on where, discover highlights, search our collections, access tours, podcasts and other apps. Add tips and photos from your visit for other visitors, or share your experiences and photos with Twitter and Facebook followers and friends.

The Lascaux Cave
Visitors to the site are presented with a three-dimensional digital version of the cave, which allows them to go from room to room, completely immersed in the site. As they travel from the Great Hall of the Bulls all the way to the Shaft of the Dead Man, they can stop at each of the many images, read descriptions, play video sequences and examine overlay lines that helpfully reveal some of the more difficult to identify figures. A zoom feature enables visitors to get as close as possible to the walls that these talented artists decorated.

Sphere, iPhone/iPad, Android, Free
Users can take 360-degree photos and also can step into existing photos of landmarks all over the globe. Step into the future of photography. See Paris from a hot air balloon, feel the energy from the American ldol stage, and hold onto your raft as you approach Hubbard Glacier. With Sphere, a user’s device is a movable window under their control. Students can create their own virtual field trips and can step into “spheres” created by other Sphere users.

Museum of Science and Industry
This virtual field trip opportunity for high school students takes participants into an operating room at Advocate Christ Medical Center. Students can ask a surgical team questions about an open heart bypass procedure while the procedure is actually occurring.

The White House
As part of President and Mrs. Obama’s commitment to open the White House to as many Americans as possible, this partnership with the Google Art Project allowed their 360 Street View cameras to capture the rooms that are featured on the public White House tour. Now anyone, anywhere, can experience the history and art of the White House via their computer.

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