Virtual Tours and Education

Example 2: Interactive Tours

A high school history teacher, located on the west coast of the United States, wants to showcase to her students new exhibits being held at two prominent New York City museums. The teacher wants her students to take a “tour” of the museums and be able to interact with the museum curators, as well as see the art work on display. Afterward, the teacher would like to choose two pieces of artwork from each exhibit and have the students participate in a group critique of the individual work of art. As a novice of distance learning and distance learning technologies, the teacher turned to the school district’s instructional designer for assistance. In the role of the instructional designer, what distance learning technologies would you suggest the teacher use to provide the best learning experience for her students?

This scenario is a reoccurring theme in the world of instructional design, how to bring information all over the world to the learner. The world of technology is allowing instructional designers to explore the opportunities of distance learning.

In researching what technologies are being used to create virtual worlds there were two different applications that would allow the instructional designer to create a simulated environment of the New York museums.

The first technology is called Mapwing. The website gives instructional designers the ability to create and share virtual tours. The site shows tours ranging from a medieval village in the south of France, to a home for sale in Georgia. As an instructional designer, there is the ability to work with the museums to see if they already have a virtual tour set up or you can use this application to be able to showcase to students the two exhibits in the museums.

The second option is creating a parallel world that closely emulates real life by using Second Life. University’s such Ohio University use Second life by creating a virtual campus, online classes, and professor’s office hours. An instructional designer in the scenario will be able to create a virtual museum and fly in pictures of exhibits, video, or a presentation that will deliver content to the students while creating an environment that mirrors reality.

Adding two way dialogues for questions and answers will enhance the students’ learning experience. Using tools such as iChat or Skype will give students the opportunity to ask questions.


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