- Why VFT's? - VFT's allow students to explore destinations and extend learning beyond the classroom walls. Whether you select apps or sites for curriculum content or just for interest, the focus is on students extracting their own learning and meaning. VFT's allow flexibility in how students learn and how they process/share that learning. VFT's can be very structured and directed or left more open ended.
- Identify YOUR goals - my goals included collaboration, reading/writing standards, and technology skills. If content learning is primary, then adjust your experience accordingly.
- Utilize whatever tools you have - our experience was subject to the tools we had. As we gained new resources, new product options were available. I chose iPad apps for "destinations" because content was not my goal. I wanted students to work with both iPads and Chromebooks, learning how to transfer files via Dropbox (teaching technology skills was part of my focus). Any tool that lets students explore a destination virtually will work!
- Adjust products to fit needs - because I work with 3rd/4th graders, my students did a combination of print and digital products. I also made sure students completed some independent tasks as group work was a challenge for their independent souls (gifted mindsets). The process of creating the products is more valuable than the finished results in most cases. While video quality turned out poor in 2015 (due to our learning curve with green screen technology), watching the preparation and the 'behind the scenes' action is where I saw the true learning products.
- Strive to make the experience self-directed - students work at different paces; plan an outline or "trip planner" as a guide. If possible, teach needed skills with videos so students can access as needed and as often as needed. This frees you to be available for trouble shooting, problem-solving, advice, questions, etc.