LEARNZ virtual field trips provide a unique experience for students and teachers in New Zealand schools and an essential part of every LEARNZ field trip is written text, along with other resource material such as photos, videos and audios.
A LEARNZ web page is constructed to scaffold reading for students. The following example demonstrates one way that teachers can use the special features of a LEARNZ Background page to help support student reading.
Watch the video
Try it yourself
Have a look at the LEARNZ web page Memorial Park - not just a roading project which is part of a series that backgrounds the Memorial Park project in Wellington, leading up to First World War centenary commemorations on Anzac Day 2015.
After looking over the list of Features, below, we suggest you take a second look at Memorial Park - not just a roading project as if you were a student to become more familiar with these features. Follow the steps in the Suggested Reading Scaffold section, below, to see how you can further support literacy development by using LEARNZ. (Hint: Display this web page side-by-side with the above web page ).
- Listen. Clicking the headphones link at the top of the page plays a recording of the content being read by one of our LEARNZ teachers. Unlike with automated options, New Zealand students will appreciate the familiarity of the accent and how the reading flows smoothly over technical words and common Māori words.
- Enlarge photos. Clicking any photo on the right displays an enlargement and caption. By hovering the mouse over the left or right side of each photo, students can navigate forward or back through the enlargements.
- Pasifika and Maori keywords. Further down the page there are a series of Language keyword tables that students and teachers can show or hide as they please. Māori keywords have sound files attached so all New Zealanders can hear them pronounced. Pasifika keywords are provided in the 5 main languages used in New Zealand.
- Print. Notice the little printer icon in the upper-right of the page. Clicking it gives a preview where all the content is displayed in a different layout, appropriate for print.
- Forward and Back. Also in the upper-right are Previous and Next links to enable students to go through the sequence of pages that build knowledge and understanding of the project.
- Two reading levels. The Easy link takes students to an easier-reading version of the page where there is more white space and simpler sentence structure and vocabulary. Typically the reading age is 2 years less.
- Relevance. The text meets the need for current, authentic, local content embedded in a larger story. The Memorial Park project is based in Wellington, with relevance to all New Zealanders.
A Suggested Reading Scaffold
- Emerging readers, click on the headphones at the top to have the page read.
- All students read the page heading.
- Read the summary in the top orange box.
- Enlarge the first image, then click through the rest of the enlargements.
- Click through the enlargements a second time and read the captions
- Read the main text of the page.
- All students, open the Māori keywords and click to hear them.
- Pasifika students, open the keywords for their language and read them.
- Read the text in the bottom orange box of the page and respond (write text or record a sound file).
- On the page’s left-hand menu, under Prepare Students, click Activities and attempt Interactive #2 called Memorial Park, which tests comprehension of the page (and one other).
- Click Next or Previous to navigate through the suggested learning sequence of Background pages whereby students gain knowledge related to the field trip topics.
- Click Standard to go to a higher-level version of the page where the reading age is two years higher.
This example is from LEARNZ Memorial Park at http://www.learnz.org.nz/memorialpark134. The web site will ultimately contain four virtual field trips covering the project through to 2015. Feel free to explore the rest of the site and use it in your teaching and learning programme. If you do, it would be great if you would register with LEARNZ at http://www.learnz.org.nz/register
For another view of using LEARNZ field trips as a reading resource, go to eLiteracy leader Jill Hammond’s explanation at