Academic Technology Center
Teaching with Technology Collaboratory

The Virtues of Virtual Tours

April 3, 2006

Virtual tours have the potential to support and enhance learning in a variety of ways. First and foremost, virtual tours provide 24/7 access to facilities that are otherwise too far away, too dangerous, or too time-consuming to visit. In addition, virtual tours often contain additional visual or non-visual data and information that is unavailable during a traditional site visit. Such data could be overlaid on top of the footage to provide a multi-sensory learning experience, could be added as voiceover commentary, or could be edited into the tour itself for a more linear learning experience. Either way, targeted information is provided to students in a timely manner through visual means.

Virtual tours also empower students who are unable to visit real facilities for physical or temporal reasons. Virtual tours created using applications such as Flash and Director often integrate interactivity whereupon students are able to alter variables and conditions in order to simulate changes to a system.

The following are several different types of virtual tours freely available on the Internet:

A villa rustica in southwestern Germany:
http://www.villa-rustica.de/tour/indexe.html

The Virtual Body:
http://www.medtropolis.com/VBody.asp

Life in the White House:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/whtour/360index.html

NOVA Pyramids:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/pyramid/explore/khufuenter.html

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Last modified: Mar 31, 2006, 09:48 EST
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