How I Use It
I've found the "Learn Around the World" seems like it would be an incredibly useful tool to supplement certain lessons in the classroom. In a human geography class for example, Learn Around the World to be helpful when discussing a new culture. In a typical classroom, students learn about a culture by reading a text book, watching videos online, or perhaps by reading a novel, however the students rarely get to directly interact with that culture. With Learn Around the World, teachers are able to schedule virtual field trips for my students, when they are able to view a live video feed from a culture and are able to interact and ask questions to locals and their featured guide. While I am not currently a teacher, I would definitely love to use this technology in my classroom. I would likely preface the virtual field trip by giving students background information on a culture or location, and I would then have them brainstorm questions that they may still have. After this, I would schedule a virtual field trip where the students would be able to further engage the culture and would be able to ask their questions directly to the guide.
Learn Around the World seems to be an amazing resource to use in the classroom. Technology has come a long way, and it is remarkable that students can now interact with a place many thousands of miles away from their own classroom. I will preface my review by noting that I am not currently a teacher (I just started my teaching certification program), however I have researched various teaching resources, and Learn Around the World has really peaked my interested. As the world grows more and more connected, there's not reason that classrooms should not as well. Learn Around the World is a unique concept that really wouldn't be possible with modern technology. While students could have pen pals in foreign countries in the past, this was not as directly interactive as mail obviously doesn't travel nearly as quickly as electronic communication. Without technology, students and educators alike were limited in how they could interact with far away places without actually traveling to a location. With Learn Around the World, students can virtually visit a foreign location and can directly interact with a guide and other local individuals in that location.
Communication and Collaboration are two of the most important skills that a student can acquire in the 21st century. The world is as connected as it has ever been thanks to the internet, so schools can and should encourage productive global communication amongst their students. A virtual field trip allows students to consider new ideas about locations, and really brings cultures and events to life by seeing them live and interactive. Learn Around the World opens up a world (no pun intended) or possibilities for teachers and students alike. Depending on how they faciliate the activities around the virtual field trip, teachers can greatly vary the rigor of the lesson plan. By having students brainstorm questions prior to the field trip, the students are encouraged to deeply think about and familiarize themselves with a new culture. Teachers can also encourage post-field trip discussions and projects, where students relate what they experienced in the field trip to the material that has been learned in the classroom.
Learn Around the World allows for a wide variety of learners to flourish. Visual learners are able to engage with the video feed, and more active learners remain engaged by the interactive elements of the field trips. Learn Around the World has virtual field trips and other programs geared for learners at different levels of capability, from kindergarten all the way up to adulthood. Simply put, Learn Around the World provides students with an engaging and realistic look at the world that they cannot receive anywhere else (aside from actually visiting the location in person). A virtual field trip alone may not be productive to students, but while serving as a supportive element of a broader content area, you really cannot go wrong with Learn Around the World.