Technological advances have given educators many tools which were not available in the not so distant past. Thanks to the internet our students can experience animals, people or places they could not otherwise experience due to distance or finances. “A virtual field trip is a web-based tool that can expand learning opportunities by allowing students to visit places they otherwise might not be able to” (Laureate Education, n.d.). Virtual field trips have grown in popularity over the past seven years and the possibilities of destination are practically endless as are platform. Depending on the subject of the field trip there can be a great deal of information given throughout the experience.
This is where the concept map and summarizing and note taking are good strategies to use. “Concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge. They include concepts, usually enclosed in circles or boxes of some type, and relationships between concepts indicated by a connecting line linking two concepts” (Novak & Canas, 2008, pp. 1). Concept maps are a great example of and advance organizer and can be used throughout the trip. Depending on the topic a KWL chart can be used, a four square, Fishbone, or a concept patter organizer. The most important aspect of an advance organizer is it should focus on what is important, and essential. It should guide the learning in the right direction. Summarizing and note taking should be used throughout the trip as a way of remembering key points made during the field trip. Upon returning to the concept map the notes can be used to complete the missing key points.
Between advance organizers, summarizing and note taking and virtual field trips there is a complete learning experience for students of all ages. Technology plays an important role in the experience. This, however is just the minimum of what can be done. This activity could be taken so much further with more technology. Educators have such a vast tool box with which to choose from to insure their students become 21st Century learners.
Novak, J. D., & Cañas, A. J. (2008).The theory underlying concept maps and how to construct
and use them (Technical Report IHMC CmapTools 2006-01, Rev 01-2008). Retrieved
from http://cmap.ihmc.us/Publications/ResearchPapers/TheoryUnderlyingConceptMaps.p df
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.-j). Spotlight on technology: Virtual field trips [Video file].
Baltimore, MD: Author