Teaching culture in an asynchronous French classroom or with distance learning has never been more fun with virtual field trips! But don’t fret, this isn’t yet another trendy digital tool to overwhelm your middle or high school students – it uses all the same tools like google slides, youtube videos, and google earth to bring Francophone culture to your classroom or remote learning environment.
If you’re a French teacher looking for a way to bring real, immersive culture to French class, then virtual field trips are easy to make in under an hour with the right framework.
This post will also show you how to find great virtual field trips for in-person, hybrid, or completely virtual instruction using over 90%, sometimes 100% target language! It’s a great tool to make Francophone culture burst to life in a classroom in a whole new dimension that also sharpens tech skills for your students.
What are virtual field trips for students?
First let’s start with what a virtual field trip is. This is a digital classroom tool either through google classroom, a collection of links and resources organized through google slides, or a field trip found from an official site like national geographic or cultural landmark from the target culture: think 360 monuments, think zoos, museums, etc.
My favorite way to make them is to find the authentic resources I’m usually using to help students connect with a culture. For example, youtube videos, articles, websites, and travel guides from a city that focus in on a specific theme.
Are you like me and love authentic texts? You can find a full PD class on how I find them quickly, especially for my virtual field trips, here:
However, you can structure your virtual field trip around any unit or theme, anything from what Winter Carnival is like in Québec to Carnival to what the best street food is in Mozambique.
What is the purpose of a virtual field trip?
This distance learning tool or all-around powerhouse digital French resource is both to immerse your students in an organized and meaningful cultural experience with zero travel. Did I mention it’s also easy for the teacher? It makes a country jump off the page instead of just having pictures or simple descriptions of a place, you SHOW, not TELL students how people behave, their customs, their important landmarks, and the colorful landscape of their home.
It’s also invaluable for intercultural competence. Using something as simple as Google Earth is an easy way for students to “walk on the streets” of Fort-de-France, Martinique. There’s no room for preconceived notions or stereotypes. Students can see with their own eyes what a place and its people are truly like.
Go beyond your French Textbook
Honestly, my favorite reason to favor virtual field trips as a digital tool in French class is how much it helps you to incorporate authentic resources and native Speakers in an approachable, organized tool without a textbook. Whether you use a textbook or not, you can incorporate these into any topic-based unit or cultural focus of your year.
It brings culture, vocabulary, and language to life!
How do you do a virtual field trip?
There are so many ways to make a virtual field trip happen in your middle school classroom. You can have students explore a city or country independently by assigning a guided link-based field trip, or you could walk through a place with them. You could also get as specific as a certain landmark or museum.
Empathetic Global Learners through Virtual Field Trips
Get all the ideas you need from how to create your own virtual field trips, where to look for authentic resources, and the 6 common mistakes that teachers make when creating them for French class in this video:
Where can I find virtual field trips?
The possibilities are ENDLESS! You can find great ones on individual websites for big landmarks especially through National Geographic – the trouble with these is that many will be in English.
Virtual Field Trips with Google
If you Google your digital voyage, you can use the ultra-versatile Google Earth to get a 360 panoramic satellite view of any place on earth! (even your own house – for real).
You can also use the virtual reality of Google Expeditions – an app that takes them even further.
Museum Virtual Field Trips & Other Ideas
Another great source to bring cultures and places to life is 360cities.net. Here you can get panoramic photos for your virtual tours in several languages. Just change to French and you’re good to go! many museums are included.
My other favorite place to look for ready-made field trips is this spectacular list from DitchThatTextbook.com. They’ve compiled 20+ places you can explore to find great field trip ideas that are already produced. However, they’re not in the target language, so you can browse for ideas to get creative.
French Virtual Field Trips with Links
If you’re ready to jump straight into virtual field trips and don’t want to spend the time it takes to curate a completely 100% in French digital resource, check out these ready-made ones with various cultural focuses:
These are flying off of the shelves as my newest best-sellers at La Libre Language Learning, and I’m so excited to share them with you. Which one should I make next? Have you tried making or using virtual field trips in your class before? Let me know in the comments below!
All of these distance learning projects are oriented around proficiency style teaching. Have you ever wished it was easier to make this happen in your class? Click here to get my 9 Steps to Transition to Proficiency (no matter where you’re starting from) Toolkit to make CI easy.
P.S. – Did you catch the class on how to use virtual field trips and create your own? Here’s the link to the class.
Rooting for you ,