Getting out of the classroom is almost always a relief for students. Teachers typically enjoy it as well, albeit less so if the students are coming along. I’m kidding! I always loved field trips with students. I do recall that the administrative burden was irritating and legal burden of leaving school grounds with students was worrisome. Those practical considerations aside, just about any contemporary theory of learning and development will argue that field experiences should happen as often as can possibly be facilitated. I think this is supported by the fact that while I regret a few of my lectures or activities that bored or confounded students, I do not regret a single trip, as they all provided memorable, fun learning experiences.
Simulated field experiences can be either a second-best option or can offer good pre and post trip activities. Gigapan allows users to upload and view very large pictures. The images are so large, they allow a level of zoom that feels to the viewer like “traveling” through the image. They are typically so detail rich, one image alone could be the topic of a lecture or an assignment. A teacher can throw with a digital projector onto big screen to support a short lecture or class discussion. An instructor could also use an image as a source material for an assignment requiring individuals or small groups to explore the images, both at a wide-angle view and in close detail.
Special cameras are used to capture many of the following images, but you may be surprised by the resolution of some older technologies. Be sure to use the zoom feature and wait for the image to clarify if you have a slower connection.
- Here is a potential simulated geology trip: http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/97851
- Find people and buildings around London http://www.360cities.net/london-photo-en.html
- View of historic Cincinnati! More hidden people! http://www.rochester.edu/news/photos/daguerreotype.html