Interactive Virtual Field Trips
Abstract: The main focus of the study was active learning in courses in which field trips traditionally has been important, by the use of 360° photos and videos – known as either 360° or spherical media. The aim of the project was to generate knowledge about how rich media content can enable students to actively explore situations or localities and to acquire knowledge of them. Through technology testing, pilot study implementation and a student survey, we experienced that spherical media can give students an audio-visual experience of exploring places and situations they might not otherwise be able to access, and in a way that is one step closer to the real-world experience than can be conveyed by text or by ordinary photos and videos. On the negative side, the quality of 360° photos and videos is not sufficiently good for all applications. In our project, the students’ feedback on the use of 360° videos in graded assignments indicates that caution should be exercised in this respect, and our experience indicates that virtual field trips cannot replace real field activities. Nevertheless, spherical media can undoubtedly add value to learning processes in the classroom, such as preparation for field trips, repetition and reflection.