Virtual field trips are a relatively new innovation, but that didn’t stop Google from reinventing it already. In November, Google launched Connected Classrooms, which uses Google+ Hangouts to give students a unique field trip experience.

Through the Connected Classrooms program, teachers can give their students experiences through virtual field trips that wouldn’t otherwise be possible, such as getting a behind-the-scenes tour of a world class museum a thousand miles away, meeting a scientist or inventor who’s changing the world, or use interactive tools such as NASA’s We Choose The Moon (pictured above).

Currently, only teachers can join the Connected Classrooms community, which allows classes to participate and ask questions live and lets teachers organize their own virtual field trips. However, anyone can watch the Hangouts live as they happen, or view the recordings on Google+. Even without the ability to interact with the hosts, the Hangouts are a great learning opportunity for homeschoolers and online school students.

Take a look at some of these recent and upcoming Hangouts: 

2/27: Exosuit! See the only deep-dive Exosuit in existence, live from the American Museum of Natural History

3/20: Explore the Tundra with Polar Bears International and Google Street View

4/10: Discover Solar Impulse 2 with Bertrand Piccard & André Borschberg, Co-Founders and Pilots of Solar Impulse (The Solar Impulse 2 is an airplane capable of flying around the world, powered only by the sun.) 

There are many more Hangouts available on a variety of subjects, including science and nature, arts and music, and social studies. Visit Connected Classrooms to learn more and to see a calendar of past and upcoming Hangouts.

Had you heard of Connected Classrooms? Do you think you will watch one with your kids? Leave us a comment with your thoughts.

Image courtesy of wechoosethemoon.org

Interested in learning more about k12's online schools and courses?

About The Author

Ashley MacQuarrie
Associate Editor
Google+

Ashley MacQuarrie is Associate Editor of Learning Liftoff. She began writing professionally eight years ago and has covered education, technology, current events, pop culture and other topics. A former homeschooler, she studied English and Film & New Media, graduating with a bachelor's degree from San Diego State University. Ashley has classroom experience working with children who have autism and other special needs. She has also tutored students from kindergarten through college and taught English to teens and adults at a language school in London.