Integrating Curriculum into School Field Trips Through Technology
Culturally enriching field trips have been found to benefit students in a host of ways, including improving their critical thinking skills and increasing their interest in cultural activities. Despite these benefits, school districts have taken to cutting field trips in a response to budget shortfalls and an emphasis on tailoring learning to established curriculum and state testing protocols.
Faced with these challenges, it’s imperative that educators and traditional field trip locations (museums, zoos, etc.) alike find ways to integrate off-campus field trips with the lessons that students are learning in the classroom. Some strategies include things like scavenger hunts, worksheets, and other tools to reinforce learning.
However, as technology continues to proliferate within the classroom, it’s time to explore ways of seamlessly integrating these co-educational opportunities through new technological avenues.
Zoos and museums are already taking concerted efforts to improve visitor educational experiences through innovative apps and exhibits. By utilizing and improving on these technologies, field trip destinations now have the potential to demonstrate further value to cash-strapped districts by proactively adapting their content to fit established curriculums.
By developing comprehensive digital applications, field trip stakeholders can allow learners to begin their educational journeys in the classroom. Using tablets, students can be exposed to lessons about what they’ll experience at their field trip destination, through e-books, video and photo content, and augmented or virtual reality experiences.
Once students arrive at their destination, these same apps can be used to reinforce learning through games, quizzes and self-guided tours, as well as provide deeper information on exhibits.
When the field trip is completed, everything that the students have learned is easily accessible through digital tools, providing educators with immediate points of reference.
As curriculums change, content can be updated digitally and pushed to existing technological infrastructure, ensuring that everything the students see is up-to-date, accessible and approved by districts.
Education is changing, but by embracing new technology, educators and field trip stakeholders alike can meet students where they’re at and engage with them on new, innovative levels.