By guest blogger Josh Prater, United States History Teacher, Sam Rayburn High School – Pasadena ISD
Simply say the words ‘field’ and ‘trip’ in front of a classroom of students, and the excitement becomes visible. While teachers have always known the value that field trips bring, we also are familiar with the logistical planning and budgeting that goes into them.
Thanks to the power of technology, teachers now have the ability to introduce students to a variety of powerful experiences without ever having to leave the classroom. Free resources from TGR EDU: Explore, a program from Tiger Woods’ TGR Foundation and Discovery Education, are making field trips more accessible than ever.
Recently, I took my class on a virtual field trip to Menlo Park, California, where we received a behind-the-scenes look at Facebook’s headquarters. As a class, we explored some of the innovative careers that fuel the Silicon Valley powerhouse, and modern technologies that gather data to solve problems.
Tech giants such as Facebook are building products that make the world more open and connected, which means that its employees must understand and come from a variety of different backgrounds, and have different skillsets. During the virtual tour, students heard from experts in software and infrastructure engineering, product design and data security. These role models are important to see applications of what we learn in the classroom to engaging future careers.
It’s critical that we build the connection between schoolwork and the future for students, and virtual field trips can help achieve that. Another benefit of TGR EDU: Explore is that the virtual field trip is accompanied by an educator guide, so learning can extend beyond the field trip itself.
Another positive feature of virtual field trips? They aren’t time-sensitive. If you’re interested in taking your class on a journey to Silicon Valley to learn more about careers in tech, check out the Career Connections: Transforming Passion Into Purpose at Facebook Virtual Field Trip.
As teachers, we must do everything in our power to introduce students to STEM careers that match their unique skillsets. Oftentimes, students aren’t aware of the array of opportunities that they can pursue, but hearing from experts of different backgrounds who are working in different industries can help make the invaluable connection between student interests and future careers. When we link passion with purpose, students can visualize their ambition, and create an actionable plan to reach it.