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Virtual (Learning in the New) Reality

In March of 2020, over 300 million students worldwide suddenly found themselves having to adjust to a whole new way of learning.

Fast-forward to the present day. Social distancing is the new norm. Homes across the country (and the globe) are performing double-duty as virtual classrooms. And parents, students, and educators alike are doing their best to adapt to the situation at hand.

While the pandemic may have hit a hard reboot on the world’s education systems, many are discovering the positive aspects of making the switch to eLearning.

In fact, there are 3 distinct benefits of taking the ‘3 Rs’ (and beyond), online.

We like to call these benefits the ‘3 Fs’:

1. FLEXIBILITY

This is number one on our list for good reason.

According to a 2020 Online Education Trends Report, flexibility and convenience are the top deciding factors for students opting to study online, versus on campus.

Considering not everybody learns at the same pace, it’s understandable how a growing number of individuals are leaning toward the flexibility of an online study environment. In a virtual setting, there are no pressures from being put on the spot to answer questions or keep up with peers. Online, students can work through lesson plans in their own time, at their own speed. Having this kind of flexibility enables students to feel more comfortable with their study/workload, which translates to them feeling better about themselves.

2. FREEDOM

From body image issues and racial biases to sexuality and gender dysphoria, today’s youth are faced with many personal struggles. This can make the confines of a classroom quite intimidating for some, particularly for those who are only just discovering their unique sense of personal identity. Online learning, on the other hand, can provide students with the freedom to be themselves, in an environment where they feel safe.

The freedom online learning provides also extends to students who are balancing busy schedules. Music lessons. Sports practices. Part-time jobs. Juggling the demands of a hectic life can be challenging at the best of times. Online learning allows these students the freedom to fit class around their schedules.

3. FUN

Brain research has shown that when the fun stops, so does the learning.

With virtual educational programs, it’s easier to break the monotony of traditional lesson plans by engaging students through interactive elements that make learning fun.

This includes the use of gamification, which is the process of taking a subject or lesson and adding game elements. Studies have shown that gamified learning experiences effectively
increase student engagement by a significant margin.

So long mind-numbing. Hello, mind-blowing.

In addition to flexibility, freedom and fun, online learning also enables students to enhance a series of very important life and career skills.

This encompasses everything from critical thinking and technical skills, to communication, collaboration and innovation. As more and more businesses make the switch to virtual teams, the demand for these kinds of skills will be greater than ever.

Virtual learning can provide students with all of the essential preparation they’ll need to succeed in whatever career path they choose.

Get in on the conversation by subscribing to our Experience Insights Emails.

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Bringing Hope to Kids During Times of Crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 2020

100 eighth graders to be connected to their future career through a weeklong virtual camp

TEXAS – SUMMER 2020 – Education Service Center (ESC) Region 20 in Texas and Experience (ExperienceAmerica.com), a leading organization in global experiential learning, have come together to support the future career dreams of a group of eighth graders. It’s all being done through a one-of-a-kind virtual summer learning camp with one very specific focus — cybersecurity.

 

Naomi Woods, College and Career Military Readiness Regional Coordinator for ESC-20, explains why this virtual camp is so important to these students. “Due to the pandemic, students from coast-to-coast have been living in a state of limbo. They’ve been disconnected from their routines and isolated from their friends, causing anxiety and depression for many. This summer program is a ray of sunshine to help cut through all of that by providing a space kids can come together virtually and do something really amazing.”

 

The program Ms. Woods is referring to will be an innovative and fully immersive cybersecurity summer camp running from July 20-24. Students will be provided with a packed itinerary that will open their minds, introduce them to industry leaders and expand their career path toward their field of interest (cybersecurity). “Thanks to amazing regional partners such as NSA Texas, NICE/NIST, CPS Energy and the FBI, we’ve been able to offer students a comprehensive program that represents the best of the best,” states Ms. Woods. “Plus we’ve secured funding at the state level to offer full scholarships to 45 deserving students, along with Chromebooks to ensure all kids, regardless of socio-economic status, will be able to get the most out of the program. Experience has also generously provided scholarships for an additional 55 students.”

 

Experience co-founder Olen Anderson believes the partnership ESC-20 has forged with Experience will help kids plan for their future. “Apart from college, high school is one of the biggest learning jumps these kids will be making. Our program bridges that gap by giving students a clear understanding of what it means to work in cybersecurity. That way they’ll be able to confidently take those giant next steps in their education,” says Mr. Anderson. Ms. Woods sums ESC-20’s collaboration with Experience quite fittingly; “Ultimately this is a story of community. How, on a massive scale, educators and industry experts have all come together to support a group of students to provide some connection, preparation, fun and most importantly, hope.”

 

To learn more about the Texas Cybersecurity Externship, Experience Experiential Learning, including their virtual or travel programs, visit ExperienceAmerica.com.

 

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Virtually Tour the Civil Rights Trail

Hello families and educators,

It is time to listen, educate, and resolve an issue that has plagued this nation for centuries. The United States’ long, fraught history of systemic racism, inequalities and disparities has been dismissed and ignored for far too long. It is time to admit there is a problem and address the injustice being inflicted on the Black community. It is time to learn from our history and implement change. It is time for us to come together as a nation and as a community to ensure our voices are heard: Black Lives Matter.

History has taught us that when communities come together and demand change, change does happen. Let the leaders, heroes and teachers of the past inspire and guide us now. We can learn from their strength and resolution to bring equality and justice to the Black community. 

DuCable Museum of African History 

Take a virtual tour of the DuSable Museum of African American History. Founded in 1961 in Chicago, Illinois, the museum features The March, a groundbreaking immersive virtual experience that allows you to attend the 1963 March on Washington. This expansive museum of African American history, culture and art promotes awareness through its exhibits of the achievements, contributions and experiences of African Americans.

Explore the Museum

Civil Rights Movement

Transport back to a critical period of time in United States history through virtual learning produced by The Georgia Public Broadcasting, a PBS network, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Education. Journey through the Civil Rights Movement with videos, compelling photo galleries, interactive maps, artwork, music and more. This in-depth exploration invites you to engage in some of the most significant events of the Civil Rights Movement.  

Take the Journey

National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel

National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee is helping start the conversation with younger children with Small but Mighty Storytime series for Young Activists and Families. This is a program that has been in place at the museum since 2017, but is now available virtually. Dory Lerner, the museum’s K-12 Educator, reads stories and demonstrates fun activities that can be done at home by students. It’s an introduction to “principles of nonviolence and peace, encourage friendship, and discuss activism.”   

Engage in Storytime

National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC is exclusively devoted to the life, history and culture of African Americans. The museum houses more than 36,000 artifacts, including the dress Carlotta Walls wore in 1957 on her first day of school at Little Rock Central High School. She was one of nine black students who volunteered to attend the all-white school. The group of students were later referred to as the Little Rock Nine. These nine brave teenagers were pioneers in the fight for equality. 

Learn About the Little Rock Nine

It is time to learn from our past and inspire our future.

Silence is compliance.

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Blog

Virtual Tour Our National Parks

Hello families, educators and explorers,

As we continue to strive to stay connected while maintaining distance, we celebrate the educators, students, and families who work tirelessly to make life as normal as possible. Here at Experience it is our mission to provide transformative travel experiences. Though these adventures are currently being shared virtually, we hope these iconic and renowned destinations keep you motivated and inspired.  

Let’s set out on another Experience virtual adventure together to explore the natural wonders of a few of the iconic US National Parks!

Explore the beautiful warm red and orange colors of Bryce Canyon National Park in Southern Utah.  This interactive virtual tour highlights the famous desert landscape of Sunset Point.  Certified as an International Dark Sky Park, enjoy a star-filled night sky.  Get up close and personal to unique rock formations and even explore a canyon on horseback. 

Take in the breathtaking views via Google Earth virtual tour of the Grand Canyon.  Experience all of the park’s top sites.  Hike the rugged Bright Angel Trailhead, cross the Colorado River using the Kaibab Suspension Bridge, appreciate the grandeur of the canyons with the panoramic view from Hopi Point and so much more.

It’s easy to see why Zion National Park in Utah is one of the most popular parks in the nation.  The Zion National Park Angels Landing eHike allows you to explore this magnificent trail carved out of solid rock.  Starting off at Grotto drop off point journey down this 2.5 mile trail with steep switchbacks, towering cliffs, dizzying drop-offs, surrounded by a picturesque sculpted canyon. 

On the border of Arizona and Utah, in the red-sand desert region, discover Navajo Nation’s Monument Valley Park.  Some of the most recognizable rock formations in the world can be found here.  Enjoy this informative video journey into the valley with a Navajo tour guide.  The fully narrated tour introduces you to the Navajo culture and immerses you in the majestic landscape.      

Virtual field trips are an excellent opportunity to explore the world around us and expand our imaginations. 

Looking forward to our next adventure!

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Virtual Tour of Florida

Hello families and educators, 

We are thrilled to take you on a journey of discovery through Florida this week!

Experience STEAM lessons from the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) with their virtual field trips. Watch educational videos on exciting experiments with colorful flames, learn about trace evidence in forensic science and take a chemistry class with a lab demonstration on compounds and mixtures. 

Become a virtual junior ranger! Engage in interactive digital resources, including adventures throughout Florida’s State Parks by live webcam and watch the majestic manatees swimming in their natural environment. 

Launch into space without leaving home! Kennedy Space Center sends explorers like you on engaging journeys of discovery with hands-on STEM activities and other free online learning resources, where educators are available to answer questions from curious minds. 

View modern and contemporary international art exhibits at Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Explore their digital museum, where there are virtual tours, art talks, activities for students and other educational resources.

Step into the streets of Miami! For the colorful Arts District experience, Wynwood Miami has started #WynAtHome on their social media channels with videos and photos of this dynamic destination. 

Keep dreaming and learning from home. Our next adventure is just around the corner.

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Blog

Virtual Tour of New York City

Hello families and educators,

Our gift to you this week is interactive learning in New York City, a place where dreams are made, from inspirational immigrant stories on Ellis Island to breathtaking performances on Broadway. 

We invite you to join us on these unforgettable experiences of New York City!

Stroll around Ellis Island National Monument in this interactive online experience, beginning in front of the Main Immigration Building that opened in 1900. Click on the icons to see historic photos, step inside the rooms and view more sites on the map. Immigrants came through Ellis Island for more than 60 years, seeking the freedoms promised in the U.S.

Experience the hit musicals of Broadway by watching livestreamed performances from Andrew Lloyd Webber, which is only available for a limited time. See spectacular epics portrayed by world-famous stage performers, including “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

Visit the Tenement Museum through virtual experiences, from historic articles and digital exhibits to featured podcasts and panel discussion videos. Discover what life was like for residents in the tenement buildings in the Lower East Side and explore stories that still shape American identity today. 

The Lincoln Center delivers impressive at home performing arts workshops and performances, including live videos, concerts, dance lessons, performances and more! Watch their livestream events or explore what they shared in previous weeks to learn from home.  

Gain a deeper understanding of the National 9/11 Memorial through interactive explorations of the 9/11 Memorial Museum, reflecting on memories, the collections of artifacts and inspirational stories of commemoration.

Go on an absolutely beautiful virtual tour of Central Park with an audio guide who shares a background on landmarks along the way. See horse-drawn carriages, an oasis of greenery around the lake, a gorgeous sculpture of an angel blessing the waters of Bethesda Fountain and wander off the paved path to enjoy the oak trees.

Sending you virtual tours every week is one of our favorite things during this stay-at-home season. We encourage you to continue sharing these with teachers and students who would like a more interactive approach to learning from home.

Until next time!

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Blog

Virtual Tour of Seattle

Hello families and educators,

We miss schools visiting us here in our hometown of Seattle, so we want to take you all on a virtual tour of some of our favorite highlights. 

Experience the Culture of Seattle

Go on a quick walking tour of the University of Washington (UW) campus, where the library architecture is reminiscent of Hogwarts and there is a spectacular view across the Drumheller Fountain of Mount Rainier on a clear day. See the cherry blossoms in full bloom on this calming journey through the UW quad.

Get to know the Seattle community of farmers and craftspeople at Pike Place Market, where everything is local, from the homemade arts and crafts to the specialty foods and fresh produce. 

See the panoramic view of the skyscrapers and surrounding mountain ranges from the Space Needle. 

Every day the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) is releasing new blog stories, covering everything from Minecraft to Tiger King and more. 

Learn from Local Engineers 

Learn from Facebook engineers in an informational interview to find out what excited them about their work and discover what they love about working in the international city of Seattle.

Go on a tour inside the huge Microsoft campus in the Seattle area to step into the future of tech and explore the workplace of Xbox creators.

Watch this heartwarming video from Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, meeting the adorable dogs that come to work with Amazonians here in the big city. 

Experience the short films of innovation in aerospace and aviation from Boeing, launching into space and getting a firsthand perspective from the flight deck with pilots.  

What a Journey! 

Thank you for joining us again this week on our third virtual tour. We encourage you to continue sharing these with your community.

See you on our next virtual tour!

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Blog

Virtual Tour of Alaska

Hello families and educators,

We are thinking of you! Here is a warm thank you to our community of parents and educators who are continuing to cultivate learning from home. As a gift from us to you, please accept our continued appreciation in the form of virtual tours around the world. 

Let’s set out on our second virtual adventure together to discover the wonders of Alaska!

Watch this short video on the Alaska Native Heritage Center to listen to their traditional music, see the cultural artifacts, explore the dwellings and imagine dancing along with Alaska’s Indigenous People to the beat of the drum. 

Go on a virtual kayak tour to view the clear skies and calm waters of Byers Lake in Denali State Park. 

Engage in at-home learning experiences through the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Explore free curriculum on wood bison and grizzly bears that encourages students to ask questions that lead them to deepen their understanding of the Alaskan landscape and diversity of wildlife in the world.

Get a glimpse into space and earth science with this STEM video, guided by the innovative experts at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska (CLCA). 

Experience virtual tours and in-depth educational videos of Kenai Fjords National Park. Journey into the beautiful landscape of Alaska to discover the wonders of the glaciers, local wildlife, geology and so much more!

Virtual field trips are an excellent opportunity to explore the world around us and expand our imaginations. We hope you enjoy these resources and encourage you to share them with your students and your community.

Looking forward to our next adventure!

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Blog Featured

Virtual Tour of Washington DC

Hello families and educators,

You impress us! We see you working from home, preparing lesson plans for your students and going above and beyond to take on these unprecedented times. While your students are home, we want to send some educational escapes your way. 

Let’s start out with our first stop on this learning journey, Washington DC. 

Go on a Smithsonian virtual tour of the National Museum of Natural History. Visit the first floor to walk through the dinosaur exhibits in the Hall of Fossils and explore the FossiLab. On the second floor, discover how plants and animals are Partners in Evolution. Learn how human cultures have been influenced by nature and transform natural resources into creative objects in Objects of Wonder. Follow the links to see past and present exhibits throughout the museum.

Spend time in the online exhibits of the National Archives. Read the Charters of Freedom: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. See these documents in the original handwriting and consider how they built the framework for the rights of the American people. Take a journey through the Records of Rights, where museum exhibits illustrate how the understanding of equal rights and how that is applied has changed since the U.S. was founded.

Take a virtual tour of the capitol buildings, exploring the architectural history of the U.S. Capitol Building, Supreme Court, Library of Congress and other nearby landmarks. 

Journey to nearby Mount Vernon for an interactive virtual tour of the preserved estate of President George Washington. Step into the family Mansion for a unique and close view of the treasures within each room. Continue walking through all the outbuildings, linger in the gardens, explore the gristmill and see the rare books in the Library.

There are so many great experiences to learn about the foundations of America in Washington DC. We hope this is a resource you can share with your students.

Until next time, the whole Experience team is still thinking of you and planning amazing adventures for when we’re all ready to go out again!

See you soon!

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World-Class Partnerships in STEAM Education

 

Empowering the cybersecurity experts of tomorrow to take on their futures with confidence.

Experience Educational Tours has designed Cybersecurity STEAM programs in collaboration with the Education Service Center (ESC), Region 20 in Texas to transform students’ lives by preparing them for cutting-edge careers and expand their goals in higher education.

One of the fastest growing job sectors in the U.S. is cybersecurity and Texas ranks second in the nation for cybersecurity careers. Currently, there is more than 30% estimated growth in Texas’ cybersecurity industry in the coming years with upwards of 4,000 job vacancies. Highly skilled individuals are required to fill this gap in employment, so Experience is building strategic partnerships with innovative ESCs and districts across Texas. The goal is to lay the groundwork for a state model that connects top students with industry leaders and world-class universities that specialize in cybersecurity.

The way students are prepared for successful careers in cybersecurity requires a dramatic shift towards identifying top talent and setting up career pathways in their education. Experience and ESC 20 collaborated on an innovative cybersecurity program that gives students a chance to attend top universities while in middle or high school, and work with cybersecurity companies to learn from the experts. This initiative answers the need for skilled talent among the cybersecurity industry, which is currently at zero-percent unemployment and is hiring students to fill vacancies as more cybersecurity threats are recognized every day. Providing cybersecurity programs for students before college is imperative for the industry and for students to achieve success in their personal and professional lives.

To go on an Experience Educational Tour in STEAM or one focused on Cybersecurity, visit ExperienceAmerica.com or find Experience at educational conferences, creating connections in all regions of education.