Interactive websites with virtual tours bring into the classroom places students cannot easily visit. Online tours provide exciting ways to achieve interdisciplinary teaching and crossing grade-level boundaries. For instance, a tour of the White House can work for a kindergarten class or a high school physics class. It all depends on how the teacher decides to integrate the site. What's more, with immersive panoramic photography, students can view buildings from above, below, and the side, as well as sweep down into rooms and feel a "live" view of the site. Students gain a sense of behind the camera lens, changing focal lengths and angles. Virtual tours reinvent field trips, bringing the site to the classroom, instead of the reverse. The value of virtual tours in the school setting, however, depends on the creative, ingenuity, and lesson planning of the teacher. Take a tour of the White House, or try out the site United States Panoramas, or look at one of our National Parks online, and figure out how you can use the site in your teaching. Post your comments.
White House Tours: www.whitehouse.gov/history/whtour/360index.html
For more White House Information: http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/
United States Panoramas: www.mountainvisions.com/QTVR/otherpans.html
Mountain Visions: www.mountainvisions.com/gallerys/immersivepans.html
The New 7 Wonders: www.panoramas.dk/7-wonders/
Check the National Parks by doing an online search of any one of them, and linking directly to the Park.
Let us know your thoughts about virtual tours, their place in your curriculum, and how you would use a specific site in your teaching.
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