Pull Up A Chair, Let’s Travel

I was given a scenario to consider. A high school history teacher on the West coast wants to show her students exhibits at two museums in New York. While a field trip might be fun, it would be ridiculously expensive and difficult to travel almost 3000 miles to visit two museums and will have an interaction with the museum curators. With today’s technology, a teacher might not ever have to leave the classroom.

I am making the assumption that the high school teacher will be giving the virtual tour in a face-to-face environment, where student will be in attendance in a classroom. Since part of this lesson would be conducted online, with an interaction with museum curators, I would say this would be a distributed learning model as described by Simonson et al. (2012) The technology used would be a mix of multimedia including video, audio, animation, and text.

The initial tour of the museums could be done in a couple ways. One way could be a video tour which the students could view on their own and at their own pace. The videos could be hosted on the school’s servers or on a public space like YouTube or Vimeo. One video example of a virtual tour is an introductory video of the Natural History Museum in London. (2012) Another video produced by the museum discusses the creation of models used in a display at the museum. (2014)

Another option would be to have an interactive web tour using technology like Adobe Flash where students could click on various parts of the interface and learn more about a specific piece of art. The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) has created an interactive tour of their museum for children. I think something like this could be used for High School students, the content modified for their age group.

For the interactive part with the museum curator, a live-conference could be made using technology like Skype or other two-way live video feed. The teacher would act as a moderator and students would be encouraged to ask questions during the conference. Another way to interact with the museum conference would be to have an online forum where students could ask questions about specific pieces of art. The teacher could use the discussion questions and answers as part of the face-to-face discussion in class when they go over assigned art pieces.

Using all of these resources together fits well with the R2D2 model suggested by Bong and Zhang. (2006) The model promotes a new way to design and deliver distance education, where the R2D2 stands for read, reflect, display, and do. There are a myriad of ways to create online instruction and the R2D2 model for providing a framework for engaging the student. The students would read information (read), discuss information with the museum curator (reflect), watch video (display), and interact with the Flash tour and discussion forum (do).


Bonk C, Zhang K Introducing the R2D2 model: online learning for the diverse learners of this world (2006) Distance Education Vol. 27, No. 2, August 2006, pp. 249-264

Museum of Modern Art, Destination Modern Art (N/A) Retrieved from http://www.moma.org/interactives/destination/

Natural History Museum, Take a virtual tour of the museum, natural history museum (2012) Retrieved from http://youtu.be/tdQDm4gdSOc

Natural History Museum, Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story – the making of the models (2014) Retrieved from http://youtu.be/znUvFxsrMOs

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s