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Field Trips and Virtual Fieldwork

Field Trips


Integrating field trips into the curriculum can offer both an educational and social experience for your students. Field trips provide authentic settings for skill development and the practical application of knowledge. Fieldwork can provide the opportunity for students to connect with professionals in their field of study and can contribute to the development of professional identities. They are a normal part of teaching in biology, geoscience, archaeology – but they aren’t limited to these disciplines. Field trips could include industry, laboratory, or site visits, cultural or historical trips, a visit to a factory, a workplace, or an organisation to see particular aspects of the discipline in professional practice. Field trips not only provide the opportunity for skills development, but they can also enhance motivation, engagement and reinvigorate your students interests and enthusiasm for their studies.

Virtual fieldwork

While virtual fieldwork is by no means a substitute to field trips, it can enhance the student experience. Virtual trips allow  students to explore and engage with various subjects from the comfort of their own homes or classrooms. By leveraging technology and digital resources, virtual fieldwork offers numerous benefits, such as increased accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and flexibility. 

Our colleagues at Newcastle University have used virtual tours to:

  • Reduce students’ uncertainty about a new environment (field, laboratory); 
  • Provide crucial information before a fieldwork or lab work (e.g. presenting health and safety information before attending a lab session), allowing the best use of time during an actual field trip.   
  • Enabling students to “revisit” the site, supporting knowledge retention, or enabling practice in a safe space; 
  • Enabling to see the site in different season, or providing an opportunity to see the site should the physical tour be impossible; 
  • Complementing fieldtrip or a lab work with additional data.