The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. -St. Augustine
Summer is a great time for travel. Last summer, I was able to travel to Europe for the first time. We visited the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium. It was truly the trip of a lifetime and I would love to go back! Travel opens our minds to different cultures, experiences and people…and amazing food! This trip allowed me to see things and experience things I would never be able to experience in my little corner of the world. In fact, it made me wish I had paid more attention in my World History class in college. Walking through the poppy fields of Flanders takes you straight to 1918 and World War 1. Standing on the battle site of Waterloo puts you in the bloody final campaign of Napoleon in 1815. I soaked up the history and beauty of these historic gems.
Our students need to experience the larger world beyond their own little corners as well. Class field trips enable educators to broaden students and enhance their educational experiences. With iPads in the classroom we can re-think how field trips are done.
Taking iPads on a field trip would allow students to capture what they are seeing, reflect on what they are learning, and create meaningful artifacts of the experience. The information collected on the trip could be put into an iMovie or Keynote to share with others and for assessment. Using the information gained on the trip and transforming it into an iMovie uses the higher order thinking skills we desire for our students. To protect the iPads, students could place them in their school book bags. That would allow the students to be hands-free if needed, but have the iPads handy at the same time. Having a class set of back packs just for field trips would be the ideal. I saw one on Amazon.com for $19.99. It is made for tablets and is lightweight enough for younger children. Now I just need a wealthy benefactor to get them for me!
What about the trips that are too far away or are too expensive? Because of bus costs, increased gas prices and the cost of some venues increasing, we have had to cut the number of trips we take during the year. What if you want to visit a place that is in another country? The iPad can take you there via virtual field trips. On a virtual field trip, you and your students can go just about anywhere on Earth — or even into the solar system. There are many websites that have virtual field trips already set up, such as this one to the Great Wall of China, or you can create your own.
Field trips can be great educational additions to any curriculum. By incorporating iPads, our students have endless possibilities to explore their world and beyond!
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