Virtual field trips benefit in-class instruction by offering fresh content, real-world examples, and expert instructors from across the globe. 

As remote learning grew due to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual field trips have increased in popularity. More widespread access to the internet and video-conferencing solutions, like Zoom and Facetime, made connecting with others easier.

Naturally, those passionate about learning have adapted advances in communication technology to enrich the learning experience.

Many schools and educational institutions have utilized virtual field trips for students to enrich their classroom experience.

Are you interested in learning more about virtual field trips? In this post, we will discuss the 10 reasons why they benefit students.

What is a virtual field trip?

Generally speaking, a virtual field trip is simply a field trip delivered by technology and experienced from the classroom or school. It uses tech-based resources such as online content and/or videoconferencing to give students the learning experiences gained from a traditional, in-person field trip.

Like in-person field trips, virtual field trips provide experiential content beyond what students learn from textbooks. However, virtual field trips are more dynamic. They can be virtual spaces where students can interact with material or an enriching experience guided by an online host. 

At Banyan, we call our service a “Live Virtual Field Trip” because our trips feature live instructors who are experts in the subject matter and trained to make the experience fun and engaging. Advanced trips can involve multiple hosts at different locations. These trips utilize classroom technology, like iPads or computers, to engage the learner in real-time with the teachers. This way, we can provide a truly immersive experience instead of passively viewing a TV show or video.

banyan global learning virtual field trips

10 Benefits of Virtual Field Trips

As students, some of our fondest memories were of field trips. There is something special about experiencing content in real time, and virtual field trips bring that feeling to any learning environment. Here are the top reasons we think virtual field trips are a great tool for educators.

1. A New Perspective

Virtual field trips allow students to go beyond the facts and take a deep dive into the subject matter. They offer a new spin on a class topic. They enable students to see not just beyond their textbooks but beyond their community. Students will meet fascinating hosts who will expand their horizons.

2. Varied Teaching Styles Keep Students Engaged

A virtual field trip with a live instructor is more fun and engaging than an in-person one! Educators know that a new teacher can create a spark in the classroom. Virtual field trips bring change and diversity to the school day. 

3. Tailored to the Classroom’s Needs

Unlike a textbook or standardized curriculum, you can personalize virtual field trips! They can be designed to be open-ended and can follow students’ questions and desires. Instructors can easily match students’ learning interests and maximize engagement.

4. More Cost-Effective Than In-person Field Trips

Virtual field trips are usually more cost-effective than in-person field trips. For example, there is no need for transportation, insurance, or other hard costs. There are many free options, and the fee-based options are generally very affordable compared to in-person alternatives. 

One significant benefit of virtual field trips is that teachers and administrators can create more frequent field trip experiences that fit their budgets—eliminating annoyances like finding chaperones and collecting permission slips!

5. Offer Unique Curriculum

Virtual field trips allow schools to offer unique curricula that are not traditionally provided but are still critical to student learning and health. A prime example of this is social and emotional learning. This is a growing area of importance for our students; however, many schools do not yet have the resources to offer it consistently.

Here at Banyan, we offer an online social and emotional learning curriculum that promotes student wellness and will improve your communication as an educator. The benefits of virtual learning do not stop with the students. 

6. Virtual Field Trips are Not Just for Students 

Now that remote teaching is a new skill required for in-class teachers, they may have something to learn from a virtual field trip! An exceptional virtual instructor can model best practices for online teaching. Therefore, In-class teachers can learn new methods or styles of teaching that they can incorporate beyond the virtual field trip.

A virtual field trip can be a welcome rest stop for a busy in-class teacher, especially when the topic is neither a teacher’s strength nor a non-core subject. A virtual teacher is an elegant solution.

7. Benefits of an Online Instructor

Students can form a distinct bond with their virtual instructors. Particularly when dealing with intricate or crucial subjects, having a variety of teachers can encourage students to discuss matters they might hesitate to share with their in-person teacher.

A virtual instructor who is an expert in a specific field can ignite curiosity in your students. They may discover interests or academic pursuits they didn’t know existed. Virtual field trips can inspire your students’ educational path.

8. Virtual Teachers are Technology Experts

Virtual instructors are often adept at harnessing classroom technology. They can bring in exciting tools for students and provide in-class teachers with tips and tricks. Tech is no longer a barrier when you have a virtual tech expert in the classroom.

9. Increase the Accessibility of Learning

All students have different capabilities, so diversifying your classroom instruction with a virtual field trip is a great way to encourage and inspire students. They also allow students with mobility restrictions to experience the world in a new way. 

Virtual field trips let students experience locations and concepts that are typically monetarily impossible. Flying your students from Denver to Washington D.C. to experience the array of museums is a fiscal and logistical nightmare. Virtual field trips make preparation as easy as answering a video call. 

10. Access to Experts 

Students need to see experts and role models in action. Virtual field trips can bring almost any expert into the classroom. Consequently, students can see firsthand what they do and interact directly with them.

Should You Try a Virtual Field Trip?

A virtual field trip is a great way to augment or supplement classroom instruction. CILC is a great resource for popular free and paid virtual field trips. Banyan Global Learning is an award-winning provider in their directory!

If you have more questions or are interested in discussing our programs and what we could do for your school, please contact us!

Delving Deeper:

For more in-depth discussions on these topics, check out our latest podcast where we dive into the real-world applications and cultural impact of AI in education.

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