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Increasing access with virtual field trips

Stanford webinar explains how virtual field trips can enhance learning opportunities

Can we virtually immerse students in hands-on field experiences to develop observational, spatial, and problem-solving skills?

That was a focus of an online discussion on May 12 moderated by Stanford Graduate School of Education associate dean for faculty affairs Shelley Goldman and featuring Bryan Brown, associate professor of education and Ryan Petterson, adjunct lecturer and director of field education at Stanford School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.

Interest in virtual field trips spiked when COVID-19 sent students home in March 2020. Traditional field experiences provide students with opportunities to bond over a shared experience and develop learning activities in a more informal learning environment.

Patterson and Brown have been working with support from the Transforming Learning Accelerator on creating new field studies opportunities that marry learning and social-emotional goals with advances in technology. One aim is that students themselves could eventually create – and teach – their own virtual trips.

During the webinar, the scholars shared how a proliferation of tools, technologies, and practices increases accessibility to remote places and creates platforms for shared experiences.

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