1 Vila Nova de Gaia Elementary School (PORTUGAL)
2 School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 2180-2188
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.1487
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
School is currently challenged to keep up with technological advances and integrate them into teaching strategies used in the classroom (Pinto et al., 2012). The technologies we have at our disposal offer us a considerable variety of new features, which must be used strategically and creatively, expanding the forms of teaching and learning in the classroom. In this sense, the use of technologies to perform virtual field trips (VFT) may be a way of mobilizing technological resources in an enriching way (Stoddard, 2009). The lack of resources and teacher training in this area are two of the obstacles which have often been reported in various studies (Miranda, 2007).

With this study we want to know about the feasibility of using VFT in the context of Basic Education schools in Portugal. It was carried out with 4th grade students and it aims to analyse the potential of virtual field trips as a didactical strategy to enhance learning and motivation of students in Science classes.

Two guiding questions were formulated:
(i) are virtual field trips a feasible classroom strategy?;
(ii) what contributions can virtual field trips bring to the students involvement in Science classes?

This was an action-research work type. It took place in two stages: In the first one, an exploratory study was carried out; there were identified potential and operational constraints and a teacher who had never used this technique was trained. In the second stage, the main study was planned and implemented, including all the reformulations driven by the previous step. This second step was carried with a group of 20 students age 9-10 and it dealt with topics related to Nature Phenomena, namely about Volcanoes.

Data was obtained in the natural context of the classroom through observations, questionnaires, audio recordings, photos and works performed by students. Data analysis was mainly qualitative and it was carried out through content analysis.

Results revealed that the use of VFT is feasible in the context of this study. Also, the study suggests that the use of VFT enhances motivation and students engagement in learning science. The study also reveals important features of teacher mediation throughout the use of VFT.
ICT, Science teaching, Virtual field Trip.