Create Engaging and Immersive Earth Science Field Explorations for your Classroom

Thursday, Friday 8:30am-11:30am SERC Building - 108B


Jessica Swann, Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus
Sina Kirk, Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus
Melanie Narish, Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus

This workshop will provide participants with first-hand experience in designing and building a virtual field trip. Working with provided media, participants will learn how to use Tour It, a free virtual field trip creator available through the NASA Infiniscope project, to create immersive virtual experiences that make the benefits of place-based education more broadly accessible. At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will have a completed virtual field trip along with the tools and experience to create custom virtual field trips that integrate Earth science concepts for their unique classrooms.

The Sunday pre-Rendezvous field trip, Crossing the Pennsylvania-New Jersey Fall Zone: from the Neoproterozoic and into the Cenozoic, is optional, but encouraged, and workshop participants are not required to participate in it to attend this workshop.

This workshop is offering stipends for eligible participants* to help offset the costs of attending the pre-Rendezvous field trip on a first-come, first-served basis (secured by registering for both this workshop and the field trip via the Rendezvous Registration form). If you are interested in attending the pre-Rendezvous field trip, this workshop, and applying for a stipend, please check the box to indicate your interest when you register. All participants are expected to participate in the field trip and the entire workshop. All stipends will be disbursed after the Rendezvous.

*Due to funding stipulations, stipend recipients must be US Citizens or permanent residents. Civil servants are ineligible.


In-person field trips are a powerful and valuable teaching tool for educators working in field sciences. However, practical considerations, such as lack of transportation and funding, mean that such trips are used very selectively. Virtual Field Trips (VFTs), on the other hand, have been demonstrated to have a similar impact and can be used as often as an instructor wishes. Unfortunately, access to create these digital learning experiences is often hidden behind paywalls and complex technology.

Tour It is a free, user-friendly, NASA-funded virtual field trip tool that gives educators agency to create professional, locally relevant digital learning experiences. They can use virtual field trips to develop labs where learners can gather observations and data, field trips to immerse learners in the culture and community of a place, and even make an accessible digital version of an annual field trip for students who are unable to join or need additional time to process. 

In contrast to more sophisticated VFTs, which require specialized technical expertise to create, Tour It operates in a web browser and can be used with only minimal training. The intuitive tool allows educators to upload 360° imagery and build their own virtual tour (VT). VTs can include navigation between different 360° scenes, each of which can be enhanced through text, image, or video annotations. Completed tours are also VR-compatible.

In this workshop, participants will create an immersive student field experience using Tour It. They will learn how to capture media, design for place-based learning, and accommodate the needs of diverse learners.

Workshop Program »

Target Audience

This workshop is designed for anyone who identifies as an educator and is seeking to make scientific field sites more accessible to the learners that they serve. This workshop is designed to accommodate not only novice instructors, but also those with highly technical experience, but does require creating an account with Infiniscope to gain access to the tool. We will model pedagogical practices in place-based learning strategies and strongly encourage participants to join one of the EER field trips to seed ideas for a VT they will create during this workshop. We encourage all participants to bring ideas for the field trips they wish to create.


  • Goal 1 - Investigate the Tour It tool and its features while creating an informative tour
  • Goal 2 - Describe the difference between an Informative tour and an Explorative tour
  • Goal 3 - Implement the Five Design Elements for Place-Based Learning 
  • Goal 4 - Plan, capture, search for and organize high-quality media that follows Creative Commons licensing
  • Goal 5 - Create an Explorative Virtual Tour that contextualizes learning for your students


Each day will include an introduction to the topic(s) for the day, a deep dive into the day's main topics, collaborative activities designed to make participants familiar with key concepts, time to integrate knowledge through practice, developing materials for their own classes, and an opportunity for reflection and feedback about the session.

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