Tech Tips for Teaching with Virtual Field Trips



If you are new to virtual field trips or are looking to see if these interactive digital activities are a good fit for your students, this post is for you.


What are virtual field trips?

Virtual field trips are an interactive way for students to learn and explore places and geographic features of the world. These structured digital lessons provide an opportunity for students to take ownership of their learning, includes cross-curricular subjects, as well as critical thinking. A virtual field trip is more than just an online website or video cam. Students are provided an opportunity to dig deeper into the content. You can download a free virtual field trip HERE and see if it's a good fit for your class.


How do I access my virtual field trip?

Virtual field trips are structured and set up in Google Slides. Each virtual field trip provides a PDF with a link to open the file in Google Slides. You will need a Google account to access. When clicking the link, you will be prompted to "make a copy." Be sure to do this. This will save a copy to your Google Drive. From here, you can then make a copy for your students and assign in Google Classroom.


Are there YouTube links?

Yes, there are video clips on YouTube within the virtual field trips. If your school has blocked this site, you can use a workaround such as SafeShare. To do this, you will need to copy the YouTube link from the activity into this platform. This will then create a new link. Copy and paste this new link into the virtual field trip before sharing with your students.


Can I use Google Maps instead of Google Earth?

This virtual field trip is designed to work with Google Earth. There may be some satellite images that are available on Google Maps, but many of the links to specific 360-degree views will not be available on Google Maps. You may need to discuss with your school tech the need for Google Earth if this site is blocked at your school.


Can I edit the virtual field trips?

All of the response questions are editable. The questions are set up as short-answers, but you can change these to meet the needs of your students or tailor to fit your unit of study. Be sure to change the questions before assigning the activity to your students. The content itself is not editable.


Are answer keys included?

A grading rubric is included in every virtual field trip. If the virtual field trip includes map skills activities, there are answer keys for these slides. Since the response questions are more observation focused and answers will vary, answer keys are not provided. Instead a grading rubric is included which assess accuracy, thoroughness, and validity.


Do my students have to use Chrome as their browser?

Yes, Google Earth is designed to work with Chrome. If your students attempt to open the links to Google Earth with another browser such as Internet Explorer, they will get a message that this browser is not compatible.


Can my students complete this on an iPad, tablet or smartphone?

Yes, to use on an iPad, tablet, or smartphone, your students will need to download the Google Slides app as well as the Google Earth app onto a compatible device. All of the Google Earth links will redirect within the app and will allow students to "travel" to the next location.


How do I assign this activity in Google Classroom?

Open Google Classroom and click on the Classwork Tab. Then click Create, and then Assignment. Name your virtual field trip. Click add and then Google Drive. From here, you will need to find and select the virtual field trip within your Google Drive. Then change the settings to make a copy for each student. This is really important. You need to make a copy for each student.


My school doesn't use Google Classroom, can I still use these virtual field trips?

Yes, there are several tutorials for assigning this activity within different school management systems.

Click here for a Canvas tutorial

Click here for a Schoology tutorial

Click here for a Seesaw tutorial

Click here for a Blackboard tutorial

Click here for a Padlet tutorial

Click here for a Nearpod tutorial


Will the links work if I download the virtual field trip to PowerPoint?

Yes. If you want to use this activity in PowerPoint, you can download the Google Slides version to PowerPoint. To do this, open up your Google Slides version of the virtual field trip. Click File, then Download, and choose Microsoft PowerPoint as the option. Save the PowerPoint version to your desktop. All of the links and text will remain in place.


I am a homeschool parent. Can I use these virtual field trips?

Yep! When you click the Google Slides access link, it will prompt you to "make a copy." This will save the activity to your Google Drive. Open the file. Click File and then Make a Copy. This will duplicate the file so that you have a new copy for your child. Rename the file. Google Drive automatically saves. Do the same process so that each child has their own copy of the virtual field trip.


Why can't I complete the drag & drop activities?

Google Slides is designed to be completed in edit mode. Using this activity in presentation mode will not allow for the moveable pieces of the drag & drop activity to work. To answer the questions, your students will also need to complete this activity in edit mode. This is just how Google Slides works.


I am looking for a specific virtual field trip but I can't find it. Can you help?

You can find my entire collection of virtual field trips HERE. You can also use the custom categories on the side bar to narrow your search. If you don't see something that you need, I am happy to take custom requests. Feel free to email me directly at michellemcdonald9515@gmail.com