Virtual field trips inspire immersive learning

By Wendy Chan posted on October 17th, 2016

Student schedules are demanding, making it tough to get a whole class out for a weekend field trip but UBC Geography has engineered a workaround that fits everyone’s schedule. If students can’t attend a given field trip, they can head out into the field another time and the ‘lesson’ will still be waiting for them to experience. The rich and interesting topography along the Sea-to-Sky route that connects Vancouver and Whistler, for instance, makes it an ideal outdoor classroom for geography students to explore.

At designated points along this geographically rich corridor — such as the Cleveland Dam, the Stawamus Chief and the Britannia Mine — students can hop out of the car, whip out their smartphones and experience a virtual field trip through a 360-degree photosphere — sometimes even more than one at a time — all without their instructor being there. Hosted on FieldPress, the photospheres give learners a 360-degree view of the area, adding to their own on-the-ground experience by allowing them to pan back or zoom in on certain features, or see them under different seasonal and weather conditions. Visually rich and accompanied by relevant audio, each photosphere includes pop-up information bytes, additional images, and links to videos and quiz questions so instructors can ensure students are completing the course requirements.

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