International Museum Day, Let’s Go For a Virtual Visit!

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May 18 is International Museum Day; however, not everyone has access to a museum to visit. So what do you do? Take a virtual visit, of course! If you read Ruth Okoye’s recent blog on virtual field trips you already have lots of ideas with places to visit and how to make the most of a virtual field trip.

Let’s take Ruth’s ideas a step further with additional suggestions for expanding learning through virtual museum visits. But first, here are some more ideas for virtual museum visits that might be new to you:

  • Exhibition Monet (TeachersFirst review) – this charming adventure guides learners through 12 different Monet works of arts. As you explore paintings, interact with the images using your computer’s microphone to change seasons in pictures, create water ripples, and more.
  • Virtual Math Museum – Gallery of Visualizations (TeachersFirst review) – explore math concepts through beautiful art created with geometric features like cylinders, curves, and ellipses.
  • Museum of Endangered Sounds (TeachersFirst review) – this is one of my favorite off-beat museums and the idea borders on genius! Visit the museum to hear sounds made by older technology and electronic equipment. How many do you remember? Old enough to remember the default sound for AOL Instant Messenger? How about TV snow? This museum may show your age but is a great way to demonstrate to students the many changes in technology in the not-so-recent past.
  • The President’s Desk (TeachersFirst review) – dig around President Kennedy’s Oval Office in this interactive from the JFK Library. Click on items on the desk to explore events from JFK’s past.
  • Need more ideas for finding virtual museum trips? This Padlet includes several ideas for visits including trips to Italy, planets, an aquarium, and more. Take a look at this Symbaloo webmix to find even more ideas for elementary and middle school students to visit Stonehenge, Carlsbad Caverns, the Titanic, and other interesting places.

As Ruth mentioned in her blog, it is vital to keep the focus on student learning. Let’s take a look at some ideas on making the most of a virtual trip from start to finish:

  • When you visit a real museum you need a ticket; there’s no reason not to have a ticket for a virtual visit too. Use the Fake Concert Ticket Generator (TeachersFirst review) to make tickets for students in advance of your visit. Distribute tickets about a week in advance of the visit to build excitement and enthusiasm for your visit.
  • Ask students to think about their visit in advance. Discuss questions such as what do you think you’ll see? Think about the physical location of the museum visit (if there is one). Ask students to use the street view of Google Maps to take a virtual look of the area. Visit 360 Cities (TeachersFirst review) to go on a virtual tour of the city.
  • Assess student learning after the visit through playing a Jeopardy game (TeachersFirst review) that includes facts and information from the virtual tour. Another option is to play a Jeopardy game before your visit as a pre-assessment activity.
  • Have older students share their learning by creating a Symbaloo Learning Paths (TeachersFirst review) for their classmates. Use this site to create an interactive learning experience that includes videos, links to virtual visits, quizzes, and more.
  • Let students share their learning through the eyes of a reporter. Ask them to put themselves in the time and place featured in your virtual visit and tell the story as a reporter. Have students use Amazon Storybuilder (TeachersFirst review) to create and build a professional-level report to share on your class website.

Many museums all over the world offer virtual visits. These are an excellent resource for sharing art, relics, and documents from different eras and locations. Be sure to take advantage of taking a virtual museum visit to add context and in-depth understanding within many different lessons.

Do you take your students on virtual visits? We’d love to hear where you go and how you incorporate your visits into your curriculum. Share your ideas in the comments below.

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About the author: Sharon Hall

Sharon Hall was a recipient of the Presidential Award of Excellence in Math teaching. With over 15 years of classroom experience as a National Board Certified teacher, Sharon shares her content knowledge and reflections on ideas for basic classroom technology integration with us.


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