Google Expeditions – Virtual Reality Hits the Classroom

The ubiquitous nature of technology has made us embrace the new ways in which technology makes our lives more comfortable. While our workplace and homes have been highly influenced by the tech revolution, schools are gradually picking up pace as well. With the help of technology, students can now virtually explore different places on the earth where the good old school bus won’t be able to take them. Google has launched Google Expeditions which is a program through which students will be able to tour different places on the earth with the help of virtual reality devices.

Students and teachers alike have found this awe-inspiring way of learning to be very helpful. Teachers claim that subjects that were once uninteresting can now be spiced up with the help of Google Expeditions. Student engagement is very high when they are using the product. Numerous classes have already started using Google Expeditions and the response is commendable.

The Content

Google has partnered with many museums, sites as well as educational organizations across the globe in order to create content for Expeditions. Some of them are the American Museum of National History, the Planetary Society and the Palace of Versailles. There are many other sites as well. They will continue to add to the content of Expeditions to provide more journeys to the students.

The expedition trips are collections of VR panoramas. It includes 360 degree spheres, 3D images as well as videos and ambient sounds. All the sites that the students visit through Expeditions have annotations with details about the site. Students will also be able to check the points of interest and there are questions for the students so that they can link the journey with their curriculum.

The App

All Expeditions are facilitated through an application which the teacher uses to choose a trip and then guide the students through a virtual field trip. The teachers will have the option to choose the content they want to show to the students. They can also point out particular areas of interest for the students along their journey.

Through the app, teachers will have the ability to pause the expedition to get the interest of the students. They can also play ambient sounds so that students get a more realistic feeling of the journey. Teachers can also allow the students to roam freely so that they can explore the place on their own.

The Equipment

Google provides a pilot kit which has all the necessary equipment needed for Google Expeditions. This includes a tablet for the teacher who can guide the students, Cardboard VR viewers for every student, speakers to provide the ambient sounds and a durable box which can be used for the transportation of all these equipment.

Google built expeditions to work without an internet service because many schools do not have good internet services and some do not have it at all. The Expeditions kit includes a router which will allow Google Expeditions to run over a local Wi-Fi network of its own. This means that you will not have to spend precious time waiting for the journeys to load.

Who Can Apply?

The Expeditions team will be visiting schools across the globe however, the company mentions that only limited schools will be visited and those who want their schools to be a part of the visit should apply online. Google says that the kit will come at no charge to schools that are involved in the Expeditions Pioneer Program.

At this point, the Expeditions team is visiting schools in United States, Sweden and Canada however; they plan to visit more schools and regions. Only educational professionals can participate in the Pioneer program and teachers are directed to a signup page where they can signup for the Pioneer program. The Expeditions team is keen to visit as many regions as they can in the 2015-2016 school year.

Virtual Reality is amazing that arouse interest in children so that they enjoy their classes even better. Students as well as teachers can benefit from this program and the education industry can see a big change coming if Google Expeditions becomes a success. Google has brought some very innovative products in the world, with Google Expeditions the expectations are just as high.

 

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