Virtual Field Trips Offers a Budget-friendly Means for Educators to Take Their Students Around the World

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New educational resource allows students to explore the world without leaving the classroom.

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There once was a time when teachers could take students on field trips across the United States and even around the world. Now, budget constraints, liability considerations, and other realities make most field trips a distant memory. Enter Virtual Field Trips, a newly-established company that uses the power of the internet to allow teachers and homeschool educators to affordably explore destinations around the world with their students.

The company has created a unique website that lets students watch educational videos to learn about exotic cities and habitats without leaving the classroom. Videos are created by educators for educators, with the curriculum in mind. VFT’s goals are to reduce lesson-planning time, to increase the use of technology in the classroom, and to support students of all abilities.

Accessing the video resources is very simple. All that is required is to log in and choose a destination. Students will be captivated with the use of technology as well as the content. Educators will be happy to know that assessments are available to download with many of the videos. Their destination videos are created using e-learning technology, and don’t require younger students to navigate the internet without safeguards, as do many other types of virtual field trips.

Language educators and learners will be interested in a new language-based series of videos being launched in the coming weeks. Kicking off the series is a French-language visit to Paris, which will be followed up by a Spanish exploration of Barcelona. In addition, many of the videos in their library are e-lessons in the social studies curriculum for younger grades, together with assessments.

It has been said that pictures and words are up to six times more effective that words alone. It is also said that 75% of learning is visual. This makes Virtual Field Trips’ videos a powerful teaching tool. Students can access the videos on their own, or together as a classroom. Some of the destinations they can learn about are Jerusalem, Paris, Tokyo, London, and Washington DC. Habitats such as the Amazon Rainforest are also extensively explored. Other upcoming destinations include Coral Reefs, the Galapagos Islands, and Alaska’s Kodiak Island. Many more are still in development. They update and add slideshows on a weekly basis.

Access to their destination videos is temporarily available on a trial basis, without charge, for 30 days. Individual educators can subscribe for $24.95 per year, while schools and school districts can enjoy further discounts. More information can be found by visiting http://www.virtualfieldtrips.org or emailing info(at)virtualfieldtrips(dot)org.

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Dale Petersen
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