We have compiled a huge list of Virtual Field Trips for your Montessori classroom, as well as a guide on how to properly integrate them into your lessons.
Virtual Field Trips: A New Approach to Montessori Going Out ActivitiesVirtual Field Trips
Virtual field trips (VFTs) use the Internet as a means of guided exploration. Sometimes called, Electronic field trips (EFTs), e-trips or Web Tours, VFTs are organized by pre-screened and thematically-based web pages that are tailored to fit the interests and learning objectives of students. Using both text and multi-media, VFTs provide a “real-life” and real-time experience for students. Best of all…they are free!
- Virtual field trips can be as simple as a photo tour of famous paintings in the Louvre: http://www.louvre.fr/llv/activite/liste_parcours.jsp
- or of Paris itself: http://www.virtourist.com/europe/paris/index.html.
How many times, after telling the First Great Lesson, have your students wanted to know more about volcanoes? Sadly, many of us aren't able to go visit a real volcano. The volcano shelf materials are great learning tools, but imagine, after students have learned all they can about volcanoes from the material, being able to explore them up close?
- Now, they can by using VFTs: http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/fieldtrips; http://www.field-trips.org/sci/volcano/.
- How about experiencing the Mars Odyssey launch as you study the solar system? http://www.spacewander.com/USA/english.html.
- Or what about exploring the sun up close? http://www.michielb.nl/sun/kaft.htm.
- Or talk to real scientists as they make exciting breakthroughs in the name of science? http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/index.html.
- When studying the Middle Ages, why not look at some medieval castles: http://www.castlewales.com/home.html?
- Or explore the mysterious monoliths on Easter Island: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/easter/.
- Or explore the arctic at http://www.polarhusky.com/.
- Or experience dinosaurs and paleontologists up close and personal at the Royal Tyrell Museum in Alberta, Canada: http://www.tyrrellmuseum.com/programs/distance_learning.htm.
Integrating Virtual Field Trips
Virtual field trips are not meant to replace the Montessori curriculum and materials. Rather, they are meant to enhance the curriculum just as “going-out” trips do. It’s a way to expose students to the world they are unable to explore otherwise.
- Trip planning. Students can use VFTs to plan their own trips outside the classroom environment.
- Preparation. Prior to actual class trips, use a virtual field trip before going outside the classroom to prepare your Montessori students ahead of time to allow them to explore particular goals, interests, or objectives for the trip.
- Post-trip follow up. After a class trip for further exploration.
- In place of a class trip.
- Student-created VFTs. Students can gather research and create their own VFT to share with their classmates and families. A great website on how to create a VFT can be found here: http://www.uen.org/utahlink/tours/tourFames.cgi?tour_id=6018.
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.