Virtual Field Trips

I know that schools and institutions have been using virtual field trips for at least 20 years in some form or another. In New Jersey, all public and non-public K-12 schools and public libraries located within Verizon's territory could once use Access New Jersey (ANJ), an advanced telecommunications network.

While I was at NJIT, I helped create our first Internet2 Day in 2005 which offers high speed opportunities for virtual field trips and collaborations between research organizations and universities and even K-12 school through its K20 Initiative.

I recall in the 1990s and earlier using ITV (Instructional Television) to connect sites and use television programs for distance education. Many of these terms and services have fallen away. There is very little time devoted by public stations to ITV today. If it exists at all, it is part of a digital subchannel of a non-commercial educational public television station, or passed on to a local educational-access television channel run by cable TV organization. There are still some groups like the Agency for Instructional Technology and the Annenberg Foundation doing a kind of ITV, but most of this type of programming has moved to the Internet.

A virtual field trip today is likely to use something like Google+ Hangouts on Air to connect cultural institutions like museums, zoos and aquariums with schools and non-profits. Hangouts On Air allows institutions to share universal access to unique cultural and educational experiences regardless of geographical and financial restrictions.

Google offers two online forms to request a virtual field trip for a classroom or organization.

Classroom Form: and an Organization Form:


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