Schools are so lucky these days. We have millions of dollars to use, para-educators in every classroom, the most up to date technology and full parent support. Wait....I'm being told that none of what I just typed is true. Hmmm... so now what?
If you were like my school, money was tight, parental support was limited, and technology was a foreign word. (I finally was able to upgrade my overhead projector with the transparencies about two years ago. No joke.)
Because of tight funds and the inability to fly my students across the country to view some of the things we learn about, I really liked the idea of virtual field trips. Virtual Field Trips (hereto known as VFT) are a great way to bring learning to life from your very own classroom. I've gone through the interwebs and found some of my favorite links to share with you. Enjoy!
The 7 Wonders of the World: panoramic views that you can click and drag for 360 degree views.
Google Art Collections: Google has taken 1,000's of art pieces from 17 museums around the world and compiled them into one place. You can even create a portfolio of your favorite pieces and add notes.
Google Sky: A really fun one! You an look at distant galaxies, track the movement of the constellations and planets and see the universe in x-ray vision.
Smithsonian: Museum of Natural History: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Smithsonian Museums! I could spend forever walking their halls. This VFT if awesome because it takes you through the museum and all you have to do is click the blue arrows to keep moving. Simple. The pictures are really high quality too.
Discovery Education has a constant rotation of virtual field trips. Things from public health, to the NBA, to habitats, and space. They also have archived VFT that you can browse by grade level.
The First Thanksgiving by Scholastic: A timely one for this time of year. It lets you talk to the Pilgrims and visit their village. It also has videos you can watch.
You can virtually "walk" through different exhibits in the Louvre by clicking arrows to travel down hallways. The pictures are crisp and the exhibits can be see in great detail.
NASA Virtual Field Trip: This one is cool because it compares sites on Earth to Mars. However, you do need to download the software (it's free).
Inside Mount Vernon: This one takes you inside this historic house of George Washington.
Rare Book Room: I like this one. It lets you see pictures from the works of Shakespeare, Galileo, Benjamin Franklin. You can click on the picture to zoom in and actually read the text.
Museo Galileo is a VFT dedicated to the more than 1,000 objects on display. You can learn about Galileo and his contemporaries, research the objects they discovered and invented, and watch videos on their ingenuity. This is a great site!
Anne Frank's House: Very powerful. Especially for someone like me who has actually been there.
Mt. Everest: This one is pretty cool. Scroll all the way down to the bottom to get to the virtual tour. There is music that plays with the different sites you can visit.
The are SO MANY more out there. If you teach about something, chances are there is some type of VFT that will engage your students.
PEACE, LOVE, AND STICKY NOTES