When I think back to my school years, there’s no doubt that from field trips were the most exciting days of all, and full of big questions: who would sit next to whom on the bus? What was in our packed lunches? Would we be allowed to buy souvenirs? Of course, educators often find field trips as stressful as students find them thrilling, as the task of ensuring that the entire class is looking, listening, and remembering important facts falls upon them. But what if that task didn’t have to be about keeping learners quiet and walking in line? What if there was a way to get real results by letting learners do what they do best – exploring?
With the Glogster application for iPad, learners of all ages and abilities can do exactly that, using their own curiosity as a guide and creating a resource that not only checks their understanding but also forms a lasting memento of a fun and fact-filled day out. Here’s some inspiration for keeping trips on track:
I remember spending many a high school field trip scurrying round with a clipboard, filling in a worksheet. Take away the paper, add multimedia, and you have a quick and easy way to engage learners in their surroundings. We have created our own reusable field trip template to make the educator’s job even simpler. You can adapt the template ahead of time to fit your specific trip, including questions and challenges. The best part is, rather than simply writing their answers, learners can photograph or record evidence via their iPads, transforming the usually laborious-seeming task of a worksheet into a chance for learners to express their own bright ideas throughout the trip.
Take the template one step further and assign your students an exciting activity that’s certain to keep their attention firmly on their surroundings. Prepare a template with space for different elements, outlining things for learners to find while on the trip. For example, depending on where the trip is, you could ask for a picture of an ancient artifact, a video of some local wildlife, or an audio clip of a museum curator answering a question. It may be worthwhile to liaise with a representative of the venue before the trip to get some great ideas of unusual objects to include in your hunt.
Adding a competitive element to the hunt is one way of getting everyone’s attention and keeping them engaged throughout the trip. However, be careful to award prizes for quality as well as quickness, rewarding the students who take time to gather great media.
Bring out your class’s journalistic side by assigning a news report glog. For younger learners, the report could simply be about the trip itself, but older learners may benefit from more specific ‘breaking news’ topics, such as the discovery of ancient treasure if you’re visiting a museum, or conservation of an endangered species if you’re visiting a state park. Using our News template as a foundation, this is a chance to let students explore individually or in groups, carefully capturing media that’s relevant to their own journalistic angle and incorporating it into the template artistically and imaginatively.
Soundbites and Surveys
Hone older students’ interview skills and let them ask all the questions! Let them work together before the trip to come up with a list of interesting questions for members of the public, then give them some time during the trip to go around in groups and record their interviews directly onto their glogs via video or audio. Not only is this a great exercise in gathering unique primary sources, but it will also provide some fascinating data to work with in subsequent classes, whether used for statistical analysis or quotations in longer articles. It may be wise to inform staff of the venue that these interviews will be taking place, and to drill students on politely introducing themselves and their projects to interviewees.
For a broader view of the field trip experience, encourage creativity by asking students to create a mock advertisement for the museum or attraction. By gathering pictures and videos of exciting and unusual things to see as well as information on fun things to do, learners can practice their persuasive language, descriptive language and presentation skills while gaining an in-depth understanding of the place they are visiting. For an extra incentive, reward the top glogs from the trip by sending the completed creations to the staff of the venue – they are sure to cause some smiles!
So, next time there’s a field trip on the horizon, save time, paper, and a lot of stress by downloading the Glogster app for iPad and letting your students make the day unforgettable for all the right reasons!