Virtual Field Trip
As a higher education curriculum developer, I enjoy reusing interesting projects that I experienced when I was a college student. One of my favorite graduate courses was one where the entire class took a trip to Washington, D.C. Our task was to go through the city and capture pictures and video of various monuments, landmarks, buildings, and anything else we needed. Then we had to use these pictures and videos to create a video lesson for any subject area we chose. I chose a math topic, measurement, which required the student to use dimensional analysis and three-dimensional formulas to find various measurements of monuments and buildings. My cousin, who is stronger in social studies, developed a course on the branches of government.
The most difficult part of the project was creating a coherent video out of the clips and pictures. Each person in the class had a different perspective, academic strength, and familiarity with the city, and this allowed for a very diverse set of videos. Virtual field trips can be created for any higher education course. The can be as structured as a class trip to a city or museum or as simple as having the students take videos or pictures of their everyday life experiences and relating them to the concepts taught in the course. University computer labs often have the needed cameras and editing software.
Internet Scavenger Hunt
Internet scavenger hunts can challenge students to explore the internet and develop their own understanding of a concept using technology and resources from third parties.
- One format for an internet scavenger hunt is to instruct students to go to different websites to find the information to answer particular questions. Finding the best websites to use can be time consuming, but grading the assignment is often less time consuming because the responses shouldn’t vary too much.
- Another format is to develop the questions and allow students to use any source they chose to find the answers. This can be a little more difficult to grade, but it teaches the use of reliable sources and can lead to a class discussion on why students found different “facts” from different sources. Students often find additional interesting, useful information that they can share with the class.
The scavenger hunts can be as simple or complex as you make them. Depending on the subject area of the course, they can increase student engagement with the subject matter.