Our Virtual Zoo Visits are an amazing way for schools, teachers and pupils to stay connected with the zoo and the work that we do from anywhere in the world.
Rather than replicating our existing workshops, our Conservation Education & Engagement team have worked hard to develop unique learning experiences designed specifically for a digital setting.
Our sessions use a combination of traditional education techniques with a live educator who engages with the group through live Q&As, presentations and interactive activities as well as pre-recorded video content and exclusive learning resources which enables teachers and learners to delve deeper into the subject and experience animals up close in a way that wouldn’t be possible in a traditional classroom session!
The Covid-19 pandemic has driven many of us to use virtual tools in ways that we hadn’t before. Digital literacy has never been higher and branching out to provide virtual sessions, especially in light of Covid-19, is allowing us to continue the zoo’s important mission and our learning objectives to connect people with nature, connect people and Chester Zoo, and enable people to take action for wildlife. Harnessing the power of digital interactions, we’re able to give access to the zoo to so many more people who may not have the chance to visit us in any other way. From Brownie groups, nursing homes, universities, even to international audiences, our virtual zoo visits allow us to bring learners closer to Chester Zoo than ever before, using this new mechanism to deliver conservation education in an engaging and innovative way.
As many of us know, online platforms like Zoom, Teams & Skype have been a huge help during lockdown, providing ways for families and friends to stay in touch. It has been a steep learning curve for many, but it has also shown how easy it is for us to all stay connected even through times where we can’t physically meet. Teachers are among the people who have very much embraced this change, out of necessity but also valuing the importance of staying connected with their students. We know how important it is that teachers continue to provide their curriculums as closely as they can. But at a time when they would usually be taking their pupils out for school trips and are now unable to do so, virtual and digital tools are proving to be a suitable alternative to allow for pupils to still obtain a rich learning experience. Being able to take their pupils to the zoo still, even virtually, will have huge benefits to their learning. As experts in conservation, our Conservation Education Officers are able to fill in the gaps and provide insight in to the world of the zoo and conservation in real time.
Online Learning Resources
Digital tools really enable us to connect with more people near and far from the zoo. For the last 5 years we’ve been providing educators with free learning resources that have conservation messages at the heart of them. They aren’t limited to science and geography subjects but cover an array of subjects including literacy, numeracy, music and art. This approach enables teachers to teach conservation in accessible and meaningful ways by finding suitable resources that will appeal to their own learners. We are always looking for new ways to engage with people wherever they are in the world; digital technologies are a great way for us to do this. They allow us to enhance our learning programmes in new ways and due to a lot of digital being accessible from online, like games, resources and other interactive tools, it certainly does allow for more people to access the zoo and for our messages to reach more people.
Interactive Zoo Map
One of the most recent interactive tools we’ve developed has been our Interactive Zoo Map which allows people to view the zoo from some unique perspectives, listen to our keeper’s talking about animals, access some of our learning resources as well as find out more information about our amazing species and habitats. The interactive map came about through wanting to give access to the zoo whilst we were closed during the first national lockdown and was made in collaboration with hi-impact.
We want to always stay connected with our audiences and perhaps have some new ‘visitors’ to the zoo…even if that’s just virtually for now.