virtual museum tours museums for digital learning

Virtual Museum Tours: Ready to Take Kids on a Field Trip?

Virtual field trips include with resources, objects, lesson plans, and even escape rooms. Learn about one of these websites, the Museums for Digital Learning.

For those of you who want to go on virtual museum tours, the Museums for Digital Learning may have the perfect answer for you. The list of museums is long and growing and is a joy to see. For years, as educators, we've had to cobble together our own resources. But, now, we have museum-created resources around topics and objects. In this post, I'll show you how I got started. First, you sign up, then learn how to make collections, and then go to the awesome resource kits!

English, Science, Social Studies, and the Arts are Included. I've also included a free Canva template for virtual field trips at the bottom. Note: This is not Virtual Reality field trips, if you're interested in VR museum tours, check out Valuable Virtual Reality Things Every Teacher Should Know.

What is included in the Museums for Digital Learning?

  • Collections – these are objects and items photographed from museums organized by category.
  • eBooks – So, I guess this is a placeholder as I only see one ebook. I'm guessing they will add more of these.
  • Resource Kits – here's the goldmine. Full standards-aligned lessons and resources are in these kids. For those of you needing emergency plans or wanting fun field trips, these will make your day! The five types of activities include narratives, hotspots, slideshows, annotations, timelines, and yes — ESCAPE ROOM GAMES!

Step 1: Sign Up for An Museum Account at https://museumsfordigitallearning.org/

You can sign in with your Google account but just make sure that you mark it as a teacher account as students can also sign up to use the resources.

Go to museumsfordigitallearning.org to sign up for a new account.

Step 2: Explore collections

So, the website will take you to create your first collection, however, I recommend that you explore their collections and objects first. Collections have been created for you. Objects are individual items.

Virtual Tour Tip: Now, before you randomly see and assign a collection make sure you click and dig into the collection first. For example, I dug into the alligator collection (after all I have family members who work with alligators so I wanted to see a little about that.) There were only two items in that collection, however, the Mesa Verde collection was much more robust.

Don't stop there, though. If you look, each item has a check box and you can click it and click “Choose an Option” at the top.

Check the box on an object and click “Choose an Option” at the top to copy to a collection or create a collection. I recommend curating collections and customizing them to your class.

Step 3: Create Your Own Collection

Create your own very specific collection. Just start with three or four, and then you'll move on.

museum resources
The virtual museum resources are organized into lessons and objects and ebooks for you. However, remember to click the “Menu” button in the top left. Scroll down to see the menu that appears.

Step 4: Explore the Resources

Menu for resources

Oh my goodness, these resources. So, when you look at the resources, you'll see so much. But make sure you don't ignore the “Menu” button in the top left corner of the museum. Oh, this is so awesome.

Types of Activities included in the resources

  • Narratives(Note: Now, I know that there's a typo on their page but they have a link at the bottom to report bugs and I've reported it. That is great that they have a way to report issues.)
  • Hotspot – clickable icons on pictures
  • Slideshow – galleries of images with captions
  • Annotation – images that users can comment on and download (this is an area I would want to test before using it in my classroom.)
  • Timeline – showing periods of time and historical events
  • Digital Escape Rooms games – this is where I'd play. These are awesome and kids love them. I might test them with PD for my teachers when introducing this tool.

The menu expands to show all of the items included in the resource and is a simple way to navigate the resource and get to the materials you need.

You can figure out your plans and figure out how you'll organize the exploration and share it to your digital classroom.

eResources include narratives, hotspots, slideshows, annotation, timelines, and escape room games.

Step 5: Share The Items to Your Digital Classroom

Every object and collection includes a share button that will give you a direct post to Google classroom or a link that you can copy and paste into any Learning Management System.

share Each object, collection, and most items include a button to share directly to Google Classroom or a link to let you post other places.

Let's Explore and Share

If you know the standards you need to meet, you can type the words in the search box on the resource page or at the top of the website.

This looks like a great website that is developing. Hat tip to Edutopia for pointing out this website. I had to try it for myself and I hope this lets you get started.

Some Ideas for Using this in the Classroom

If you assign this to your class, consider a “dress up” day or a room transformation to make it fun if you can't go on field trips. You can also make field trip notebooks.

For a paper record, you can use the KWL Field Trip Notebook Canva Template that you can customize for yourself. You'll need a free Canva educator account but it will be a great way to have a virtual museum tour.

Or if you want to digitally record the field trip, use Google Keep with these instructions.

Let me know what you think of the virtual museum tours at the Museums for Digital Learning and if you have any tips to share.

To learn more check out:

virtual museum tours museums for digital learning

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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3 comments

Chase April 27, 2022 - 11:07 am

I love this. I am going to be a history teacher and this is a perfect opportunity for students to see exhibits from places far away that we may not get to visit. I look forward to using this and creating my own collections!

Reply
Vicki Davis May 3, 2022 - 6:25 am

Yes. I hope they keep adding to this!

Reply
Will May 8, 2022 - 7:35 pm

I think virtual field trips are a great tool for students. obviously, we cant always go to the places we study in class, but virtual field trips give up the chance to visit places that a field trip budget would never allow or just don’t exist anymore. I have looked into a virtual field trip to ancient greece and it was really interesting to see an ancient greek community in its former glory!

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere