On May 10th, Google brought Expeditions to Beebe Elementary. Beebe was chosen to participate in Expeditions as part of a pilot program Google is implementing in selected schools around the world including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, Singapore, Denmark and Mexico.
Expeditions is a new product that allows teachers to take their classes on virtual field trips, immersing students in experiences that bring abstract concepts to life and giving students a deeper understanding of the world beyond the classroom. A box arrives with everything you need to travel: a tablet for the teacher, and Cardboard viewers and phones for every student. Next, the teacher selects a destination, and the entire classroom jumps there automatically.
There are over 200 Expeditions to choose from. The Wildlife Conservation Society, PBS, the American Museum of Natural History, the Planetary Society, and the Palace of Versailles contributed to developing the curriculum for students.
These trips are collections of virtual reality panoramas — 360° photo spheres, 3D images and video, ambient sounds — annotated with details, points of interest, and questions that make them easy to integrate into curriculum already used in schools. While nothing replaces hopping on the bus for a field trip, Expeditions provide an unparalleled opportunity for supplemental learning as teachers integrate Virtual Reality in their classes.
Students, teachers and administrators all joined in the fun as they explored the world with Google Expeditions. Students saw the Pyramids in Egypt and the Great Wall of China along with sharks and dolphins, up close and personal! They walked on the moon and saw the actual footprints of astronauts and the American flag on the moon. These are just a few of the 200+ Expeditions in the Google Expeditions App.
The Google Expeditions app will be available in the Fall and is free to everyone. The devices students used to view the app are called Google Cardboard viewers and are available online ranging from about $5 to $25. The only other thing needed is a smartphone that fits in the Cardboard viewers. In the meantime, there are many other Virtual Reality apps available, just search for VR apps in the App Store or the Google Play Store.
Click here to see pictures and videos from yesterday’s Google Expeditions.