One of the great things about learning a new language is immersing yourself in the culture. There are so many fantastic things you can learn from the culture of a country, from important holidays to unique traditions with rich historical roots.
However, for Spanish classes, flying all the way to Spain or Mexico can be an expensive endeavor. The good news is that the Internet provides a portal to learning that allows teachers and students to experience the culture from the classroom or home — plus it makes lesson plans much more exciting! So put down the flashcards and conjugation charts for the day, and pull up your browser. Your students will love these unique options for virtual field trips around Spain and beyond!
1. Google Maps and Google Cultural Institute
Google Maps is a great first stop for a virtual field trip. If you have a list of landmarks and well-known hot spots in the area, use that to start your tour. In the screenshot above, for example, you can “visit” Spain and get an up-close look at the Sagrada Família, a Roman Catholic church and one of Barcelona’s most popular tourist attractions.
You can also use the Google maps engine to create your own maps and routes, and add resources at each destination. Try using this to create a fun lesson plan that takes your students all over the country!
Finally, check out the Google Cultural Institute, which incorporates Google Maps and additional online resources to showcase various world wonders and historic moments, all easily searchable.
2. Connected Classrooms
Yet another option in the Google suite, Connected Classrooms uses Google Hangouts to connect and empower educators. Here you can share resources, collaborate, and brainstorm ideas, including virtual field trips and other learning opportunities. Once you join the community, you’ll be able to sign up for the upcoming field trips, which are broadcast via Hangouts on Air.
3. City Tourism Websites
Many cities have robust and interactive websites created by their tourism department, aimed at educating and inspiring readers! For Spanish classes, check out the Barcelona Tourist Website. There’s ton to explore on the website, including details about each of Barcelona’s districts (neighborhoods), tourist attractions, and interesting historical facts. The website also provides a newsletter in Spanish and connections to their Twitter and Instagram accounts, for real-time updates on city life.
AirPano showcases 360-degree views of various cities, including Barcelona. The website also includes a brief bit of geographical and cultural information for each location. For example, did you know that according to one of the legends, the city was founded by Hercules, the legendary hero of Greek mythology? There’s also some gorgeous 360-degree videos in the gallery.
5. Spain Virtual Field Trip
Spain Virtual Field Trip is another online visual view of Spanish cities, including Segovia and Madrid. Students can navigate through the interactive map and click on buildings to learn more about what they are and how they are unique to Spain.
This website is the largest 360° panorama sharing community, featuring thousands of extraordinary locations created by HD virtual reality photographers. Type in the city you want to explore, and check out all the gorgeous panorama photos, like the above photograph of the Plaza de España.
7. Reach the World
Reach the World is an awesome website that offers students and teachers opportunities to connect and learn from world travelers who are documenting their experiences through field notes, journal entries, and photographs. Students can explore the journals freely, while the RTW Full Program includes traveler-to-classroom matching, video conferencing, on-site support from classroom interns, and teacher professional development.
8. Mexico: A Global Trek Activity via Scholastic
Spanish-speakers should also be learning about Mexico, of course! Scholastic.com has excellent lesson plans and resources for exploring Mexico’s history, cultures, and landmarks. Recommended for grades 3-8, students can read all about the country, take a virtual tour, and then write about it in their online travel journal.
Don’t teach Spanish? Looking for other lesson plans and virtual field trips outside of Spain and Mexico? Here are some more ideas:
Virtual Field Trips for Science & Ecology
Virtual Field Trips for History
Virtual Field Trips for Other Subjects
Readers, what other resources have you used? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll add it to the list!
Photo via AirPano