Virtual Fieldtrips


The concept of Virtual Field trips has been around for a long time. In the past they have been very structured. Developers and educators have created the websites and content focused on the specific needs of the target audience and subject area. This is a great strength, but it is also a limitation. It is limited by what the developer/educator thought was important and what they wanted to achieve.

Web 2.0 technologies are allowing us to construct our own "virtual field trips". These are not prepackaged or predetermined, they allow us to travel where we want to and see what we want. Its still in its infancy but it has potential. It also has risks - its not vetted and created by interested and aware educators, its raw and real. Its pays to have practiced the trip before releasing it on your class. Also this will help cache the sites if you have a proxy server or in the case of Google earth on your machine.

Concept map

This is a concept map created using C-Map of Virtual Fieldtrips and tools available


The database driven applications of Web 2.0 are what is allowing us to develop these trips.

From Google:

Google has given us a variety of tools we can use.

Google earth and Google Sketch up

  • - these are different tools but I have them together because of what you can do with them. Google earth client allows you to search for and visit a location on the planet. You zoom and swoop in from an Eye of God perspective and bookmark and tag favourite locations. these are often linked to images uploaded to various sites. The Sketch up tool allows the users, who are interested to create 3D constructs of the building at the location and upload these to the warehouse.

Google maps and Street view -

  • If you have seen the video of the iphones integration of Google maps you will know about the power of this product. If you then link it to Street view, your field trip is complete (but limited to what has been photographed). Watch the videos below
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Google Sky

Google earth 4.2 has a new feature for a virtual trips to the more unreachable locations.

Google Sky video

From Microsoft:

Not to be out done by Google, Microsoft has given us some similar products but also one that is potentially huge
  • Live Search - This has has a very similar appearance and feel to google maps. again you can zoom into the location with a variety of views from Road to Aerial or a hybrid of the two.
  • Photosynth - While Google has Street view, this product is its match and beyond. It is a tool out of the live labs that compiles and stacks images from various sites into one application. You can view edit and modify. You need to watch this video and visit the Photosynth Website

From Wikimapia

This is another on-line map tool. Its powered by the Google engine and allows you to enter your write up of the location. interesting but needs better development and presentation.
Video Clip on Wikimapia - from otag polytech

Other options

GIS - GIS stands for Geographical information systems. Virtual earth, Google maps and Earth are web based GIS's. have a look at Arcview for a good and powerful GIS system that has a school pricing agreement.

Make Your Own Virtual Tour

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This is a web 2.0 tool that lets you build and format your own virtual tours.
This is what they have to say about themselves
" Mapwing makes it easy to build, share, and explore virtual tours. Use Mapwing to turn your digital photos into virtual tours that include interactive maps, images, and comments. Then, share your virtual tours with friends, clients, or the entire world. Begin creating your own virtual tours for Free"

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A Classroom project - coral reefs

A Temporal Field Trip
This is an interesting interactive web site on the BBC history site.
Its looking at British History from Neolithic to modern.
Its searchable by keywords and dates.
Each event pops up and has detailed information and in some case links to other resources

Virtual Field trips using QT VR

This is a virtual web tour of a series of famous locations. It is from the ART History department of Williams College. Quicktime VR links mouse motion or gestures to interact with the virtual environment

Palazzo del Te
1526 to 1534
Mantua, Italy

Sant' Andrea Mantova
1470 to 1476
Early Renaissance
Mantua, Italy

San Carlo Alle Quattro Fontane
1638 to 1641
Rome, Italy

Bavaria, Germany

Sant' Andrea Al Quirinale
1658 to 1665
Rome, Italy

Die Wies (Wieskirche)
Bavaria, Germany

Bavaria, Germany

Emerging Technology - Immersive Media

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This is another tool which has education potential. Immersive Media allows the viewer to turn,
rotate and manipulate the video stream as it is being played. You can look up down and all

The technology

The technology behind it is this fancy multi-lens interlacing camera
Classroom project on Coral reefs
Its an interesting technology with huge educational possibilities. Have a look at the demonstrations like this one -
Here is their demo page -

Can you image visiting St Peter's or touring the Tower of London using this? Invisage the
impact of virtually walking into and through Auschwitz.

Rome ReBorn 1.0


Out of the ashes - Rome reborn 1.0 - blog entry - the site
Its worth reading the national geographic lead article on this at this URL:


This is a flash based web site simulation of Rome reborn out of the ashes.
The site contains:
  • video (4 fly throughs)
  • audio
  • still media of various Roman sites.
Accompanying each is an explanation or description of the site/location
The site has an explanation of the process and people involved in making this resource.

sample image

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Experimental Technologies Center@UCLA

This simulation comes from the experimental technologies center @ UCLA.
Worth visiting here too, is the digital roman forum - this has detailed information mainly focused on building but some images as well.

Earth Guide


English Version -
Japanese Version -


Well this is another interesting site. Its not quite a virtual field trip, but field trips to space are a little out of the range of most schools. It has good cross curricula potential to as the site is available in English and Japanese version. Its a flash animated site
Earth Guide Looks at Planet Earth from a number of perspectives:
  • Earth in the Galaxy
  • Why Earth is different to other planets
  • Where does sky become space
  • Sunlight and planet earth
  • What is Earth made of
  • Land use
  • Oceans
  • Water and Carbon
It also has a series of keywords/features (see below)


25 Awesome Virtual Learning Experiences Online

The following sites are friom an excellent Blog post at this URL -
7 Wonders Panoramas - 360-degree views of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Arounder Virtual Tour of the Moon - 360-degree panoramic views of the moon, courtesy of the Apollo 11, 12 and 17 missions. (Many other Earth locations also available on
Frissiras Museum - A virtual art gallery from Athens, Greece that allows you to explore paintings by rolling your mouse over them.
Google Earth - Explore the geography of both land and sea (free download).
Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Vital Signs: Understanding Cardiovascular Diseases - A virtual gallery teaching about heart disease.
Louvre Virtual Tour - Virtual tour of the world-famous Louvre museum in Paris.
Mount St. Helens 360 - See how the volcano Mount St. Helens changed in the three-year span between 2003 and 2006 with these 360-degree panoramas.
Mount Vernon Virtual Mansion Tour - Virtual tour of George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon.
The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago - Enjoy 360-degree views of galleries showcasing Egyptian, Assyrian, Mesopotamian and Persian cultures
Rare Book Room - A virtual library that allows you to not only view but read hundreds of rare and historical copies of books, from Shakespeare to Galileo.
Smithsonian National Museum of National History Virtual Tour - Take a virtual walking tour of the entire Smithsonian National Museum of National History.
Smithsonian National Museum of National History Dinosaur Tour - A virtual tour of dinosaur fossils.
Smithsonian National Museum of National History Dinosaur Dig - An interactive virtual archaeological dig for dinosaur bones.
Supreme Court Tour - A 360-degree exploration of the U.S. Supreme Court building.
Taj Mahal Virtual Tour - Virtual tour of the Taj Mahal, featuring 360-degree panoramas.
Tour of Colonial Williamsburg - A virtual tour of Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.
UAE Interact Virtual Museum - A virtual museum exploring the history of the United Arab Emirates through ancient artifacts like stoneware, jewelry, weapons, tools and coins.
US Capitol Virtual Tour - Virtual tour of the US Capitol, with clickable areas to learn more about the building’s history.
A Virtual Journey into the Universe - Explore our solar system with a variety of interactive tools (no jokes about what lies in the interior of Uranus).
Virtual Museum of Iraq - Discover the history of Iraq through eight museum halls full of artifacts.
The Virtual Museum of Traditional Japanese Arts - Wander down virtual hallways to explore traditional Japanese arts, from fine arts to martial arts.
Virtual Tour of Rio de Janeiro - An amazing 3-D aerial virtual tour of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Visible Body - Detailed, dynamic 3-D views of all the systems in the human body (7-day free trial).
Virtual Worlds Almanac - A guide to online “virtual worlds,” most with educational value.
Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society Life-Size Blue Whale - Feel what it’s like to swim alongside a blue whale.