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Page history last edited by admckettrick 11 years ago

Virtual field trips (VTF) seek to use technology as a means to approximate the experiential learning that takes place during traditional field trips. Within this context VFTs can take on a variety of forms. The simplest and easiest VTFs consist of little more than pictures and text, perhaps with links to relevant web pages and can be easily created by teachers. (Steele-Carlin, 2008)


Many examples of this kind or VFT can be found at Tramline. 


Other VFTs, such as those produced by Ball State University, seek to provide a higher level of interactivity adding a variety of media such as video, interactive media and games, and live interactive sessions with content experts. 


Potential Advantages of VTF:


  • None of the logistical or safety issues associated with traditional field trips. (No need to get a school bus or worry about students wandering away from the group.)
  • No dud field trips (Can eliminated factors such as weather that would ruin a traditional field trip)
  • Cost efficient (assuming the school has computers available for use)
  • Accountability (Many pre-made VTFs come with teacher resources that include links to state and/or national standards)
  • “No significant difference on final assessment” for students who took a virtual field trip compared to those who took a traditional field trip (Lewis, 2008, p.iv).


Potential Disadvantages of VTF:


  • Cannot fully replicate the experience of being there.
  • Novelty of the experience can distract from its educational value. (Orion-Hofstein, 1994)
  • School must have adequate technology resources




    VFT's in Higher Education:

    At the University of Arkansas, virtual field trips are improving undergraduate education by providing "a cost-effective alternative to field trips and improving learning with results of this project being enhanced learning for students in greenhouse management and controlled environment agriculture” (Evans, M. R., Cavins, T. J., Kuehny, J. S., Harkess, R. L., Greer, R. L.). 





Lewis, D. B. (2008). Can virtual field trips be substituted for real-world field trips in an eight grade geology curriculum?. University of Washington. (UMI No. 3303386)

Orion, N. & Hofstein, A. (1994). Factors that influence learning during a scientific field trip in a natural environment. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 31(10), 1097-1119.  

Steele-Carlin, S. (2008). Get outta class with virtual field trips. Education World.  Retrieved May 13, 2009, from http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech/tech071.shtml 

Evans, M. R. (2004-09-01). Virtual Field Trips For Improving Undergraduate Education in Controlled Environment Agriculture. Retrieved May 30, 2009, from United States Department of Agriculture Research, Education & Economics Information System Web site:  






Comments (1)

admckettrick said

at 10:47 pm on May 29, 2009

I added an additional reference: Virtual Field Trips For Improving Undergraduate Education in Controlled Environment: Agriculture and information on Virtual Field Trips being used at the University of Arkansas.

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