Naper Settlement Launches Four Virtual Field Trips

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Virtual Field Trips

Naper Settlement launched a new Distance Learning Track with four new virtual field trips designed for students in grades three to eight.

In a press release, the settlement said due to the pandemic, the 32,000 elementary and middle school students across Chicagoland who usually visit Naper Settlement haven’t been able to do so for a year now. Because of this and hearing from local teachers, the museum spent three months developing a digital field trip program “to bring the field trip experience directly into the classroom.”

“The field trips to Naper Settlement are a rite of passage for many. I meet people regularly who still recall churning butter, visiting the blacksmith, and hearing in first-person from the freedom seeker at our Underground Railroad program. It may be 25+ years later, but those memories are still a key part of their understanding of local and American history. It is important to allow today’s students the same experience and “ah-ha” moments,” said Rena Tamayo-Calabrese, president and CEO of
Naper Settlement in the press release. “We are committed to ensuring that this life-long memory and learning opportunity is not taken away by the pandemic. The virtual capabilities expand our reach by not confining us to traveling distance. The program is now available to every student state-wide.”

What’s Included?

Virtual reality tours, 3D artifacts, interactive learning videos, and online worksheets and activities help bring the museum’s most popular field trips to online learners. Those field trips include Living History, History Station, and Voices of the Past: Northern Illinois and the Underground Railroad. A new field trip was also developed in response to the pandemic, Lessons in Resilience. The virtual trip provides students with ways to build a resilience toolkit to help navigate through community challenges.

““Illinois is a leader with established standards in social and emotional learning,” said Jeanne Schultz Angel, director of learning experiences and historical resources at Naper Settlement in the press release. “We created an entirely new program for middle school students using historical examples of creative, resilient responses to challenges of severe weather, community health, and
social crises to compliment what is being taught in the classroom.”

Meeting Learning Standards

Each of the four field trips meet a variety of learning standards including Illinois State Standards, social Common Core, and NextGen learning standards and programs to supplement school curriculum. They are administered through Google Classroom and designed to engage students with self-guided lessons as well as real-time lessons instructed by museum educators.

“We see our virtual learning experiences as a key part of engaging students well into the future,” said Tamyo-Calabrese. “The advanced technology used allows students to get even closer to historical resources and spend even more time engaging with Naper Settlement and their interest in history.”

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.

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