By Sean Scarpiello
As the budgets of schools continue to be cut, administrators and teachers are faced with new challenges. One of the few ways to cut back on spending so that each dollar stretches farther is to cut out activities. Then, teachers are faced with the decision on what to cut. It is impossible to completely cut classes on reading writing and arithmetic, because these are all mandatory classes. Classes such as music or art cannot be withdrawn from the curriculum either because students would be limited to creativity. Therefore, teachers choose to cut out certain aspects of classes. One such aspect which is typically the first to be cut is field trips.
Field trips are currently every school’s enemy for a handful of reasons. First, transporting the students is not cheap, especially with the current price of gasoline. Also, the museum, theatre, memorial, or other place of interest has a price of admission which adds up quickly. One last disadvantage of field trips is they take a lot of effort to organize. Teachers often find themselves spending a lot of time and energy devoted to finding parent chaperones, dealing with the place of interest of the field trip, as well as organizing other aspects of field trips like lunch, time constraints, liability, and transportation.
One new way teachers can avoid cutting field trips would be to take their class on a virtual field trip. So far, there is a huge number of places teachers can take their classes on these virtual field trips. To name a few, teachers can take students to places like the NASA Research Center, The Globe Theatre, and even several of Washington D.C.’s fantastic museums.
These virtual field trips require little organization when compared to regular field trips. Students do not need to leave school, so there is no worrying about transportation or lunch expenses. Also, these field trips are a lot cheaper than regular field trips. For example, a virtual field trip to the Miami Science Museum costs $300 per classroom. For an extra fee, the Miami Science Museum can even rent out equipment to show the virtual field trip if the school lacks the necessary equipment. If teachers were going to bring their own class to a museum to visit, they may have to pay for tickets that cost anywhere from $12 to $40 a student. One way teachers could even hold the virtual field trip in an auditorium so that several classes could go on the journey.
Field trips are usually frowned upon in schools because they cost a lot and seem to not teach students very much. With virtual field trips, teachers can take a full day to go on a virtual journey to a new place, without even leaving the classroom. They are a lot cheaper and easier to organize than a regular field trip and students are bound to enjoy them. There are also so many different places to go. Many local museums are beginning to create these programs, and even international locations of interest have virtual field trips. They are quickly becoming one of the easiest and cheapest ways to cut spending for school districts and helping to bring education to the masses at low costs.