Virtual Field Trips:Today we explored virtual field trips and how they can be used to enhance learning in a classroom setting. A virtual field trip is a guided exploration of a place or concept without having to leave your classroom. Through preparing pictures, resources, and guiding questions students are able to interact with the concept in a a realistic and meaningful way.
I had the opportunity to create a virtual field trip experience for my students during my first placement. During our unit on government and responsible citizenship I acted as a tour guide and took my students on a virtual tour of the parliament buildings. I found a great website called Online Tour of Parliament that allowed us to interact with and explore the different rooms in the parliament buildings without ever leaving our classroom.
This experience allowed me to see the amazing impact that virtual field trips can have on students learning. Throughout this tour, my students were able to connect with the material in a meaningful way, were engaged in the lesson, and were motivated to expand on their learning and ask questions.
Genius Hour Projects:
Genius hour projects are also a unique way to increase student engagement by providing them with hands on learning opportunities. Genius hour projects allow students to explore their own passions ultimately improving productivity and motivation. During genius hour projects in a school setting, students choose a topic they find interesting and that they would like to explore. Students then spend time researching their passion project and developing a product that they will share with their peers.
A teacher's role as students pursue their passion projects is to act as a facilitator as they guide students while allowing them the freedom and creativity to set their own direction. There are many benefits to these types of projects including their unique ability to inspire innovation and creativity in students. I look forward to learning more about genius hour and how I can incorporate it into my future classroom.
I have included the following video as I feel that it accurately represents the reasons why passion projects are so effective. This video captures the idea that 21st century learners need to develop interchangeable skills that will help them to succeed in all aspects of their lives. The video suggests that we must not teach students answers, but rather provide them with opportunities to ask questions and construct their own knowledge through exploration. Genius hour projects are a perfect platform to accomplish just that!