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Educational excursions: Learning outside the classroomemployee

Educational excursions: Learning outside the classroomNo matter a student’s age, field trips are an effective supplement to traditional in-class lessons and activities. You’ve heard it before: Doing is learning!

Sometimes though, you likely wonder how to take the field trip to the next level, how to make it a true “educational excursion”? We understand that with budgets constricting, schedules tightening and a heightened need to show results, fieldtrips can seem more like a chore and less like an opportunity. That’s why we’ve come up with a few tips to make the most out of your budget, while still delivering many benefits to all types of learners.

Making it worthwhile
No matter the field trip’s destination or mode of delivery, you understand that it needs to offer learning opportunities to all students. You already know that each student differs in learning styles, so tailor to each during your fieldtrip’s activities:

  • Visual learners—Help them get the most out of the trip by having them write out descriptions of their five favorite exhibits, activities, etc. Also encourage the use of symbols or diagrams.
  • Audio learners—Choose a destination that allows for audio tours or visit the place yourself first to record an audio tour. Then encourage students to give a short, in-class speech after the trip to explain their favorite part.
  • Kinesthetic/Tactile learners—Meet with the tour guide, curator, facilitator etc. prior to the fieldtrip to ensure plenty of hands-on activities are in place to keep interest at its peak. Following the trip, have these students create a model conveying their most vivid memory of the trip.

Then, during the trip, keep everyone connected and communicating with frequent check-ins for younger students, or a Twitter feed on mobile phones for older, more tech-savvy audiences. Also consider providing disposable cameras for students to catalog the trip and develop presentations from afterward.

Only a store away
In life, you know that learning can happen anywhere—including the nearby grocery store, pet shop or car factory! There are many existing organizations that will help set up field trips and excursions. One such company, Field Trip Factory, books more than 10,000 field trips annually for free, as costs are covered by the businesses. Students need only pay for bus fares.(1)

The possible combinations are endless: a college-level botany class may benefit from visiting a local flower shop, whereas an elementary class could reap the rewards of learning about pet care at the nearby Petco®. Just put on your thinking cap and get creative!

Regardless of your destination though, remember to:

The web’s wide world
Another way to save time and money is to take a week-long trip to the ancient ruins of Egypt…virtually! Virtual field trips and tours via the Internet are a great way to experience new, exciting concepts without ever leaving the classroom. Museums are a great place to start, as many offer in-depth virtual tours and activities online. Some of our favorites include:

Take it one step further and have students create a virtual tour of their own community or their favorite spots. Then consider pairing up with another school across the country or globe and swapping tours with one another! It will be yet another way to engage students and encourage learning.

By planning an effective fieldtrip, you’ll increase student interest and willingness to learn. Now you know that it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to do so! Just make sure the right activities are in place for all learners, and you’ll be well on your way to educational excursion success—at any location.

(1) Miller, Bonnie. “Reading, Writing, Retailing: Field Trips Flock to Stores.” Commercial Alert. 2 Feb. 2004. Chicago Tribune. 7 Jan. 2009

 

 

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