Home > Uncategorized > E-School’s “App of the Week” Replaces REAL Field Trips with Virtual Field Trips

E-School’s “App of the Week” Replaces REAL Field Trips with Virtual Field Trips

May 6, 2017

I returned a couple of weeks ago from a two week trip to Southern Utah. Before making the trip I looked at pictures on line, watched videos, and read many articles. But being in the region, with it’s big sky, deep canyons, otherworldly rock formations, wind, and aromas was a wholly different experience.

The same holds true for any “virtual” experience: listening to a concert on earphones, watching a 3-D movie, or simulating an environment using virtual reality. But all of the virtual opportunities cost less than traveling to the site and take a lot less time… which is why E-School’s App of the Week is likely to appeal to schools who are strapped with funds and limited for time. According to the blurb on the VR Field Trip app site, students will be thrilled: “With stunning scenes and a flexible delivery method, your students will thank you for journeying together through space and time.”

Sorry… but virtual experiences are no substitute for field trips that take students out of their environment to other locales. The small town kids from rural Maine who travelled to Boston got a much different experience  being in the city… the city kids from Philadelphia who were fortunate enough to get into camps in rural Pennsylvania got a chance to hear cicadas and experience starlit skies… the middle class suburban kids who traveled to communities where children lived in poverty got insights on that kind of life that would otherwise elude them. Money spent getting children out of their comfort zones and into the world of others helps develop empathy and expands horizons. Money spent on apps keeps them isolated in darkened rooms.

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