The Google Expeditions team visited Eagle View Elementary School on Wednesday, March 2nd. Expeditions is a new product that allows teachers to take their classes on virtual field trips, bringing abstract concepts to life and giving students a deeper understanding of the world beyond the classroom. A box arrives with everything the class needs to travel: a tablet for the teacher, Google Cardboard viewers, and devices for every student. Next, the teacher selects a destination and the entire classroom "travels" there automatically. 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 classroom lessons. While nothing replaces hopping on the bus for a field trip, Expeditions provide new opportunities for learning.
What is Google Cardboard? It is a virtual reality viewer made almost entirely of actual cardboard. Cardboard allows anyone with a modern smartphone to experience virtual reality. There are more than 5 million in circulation.
How was Eagle View Elementary School selected for the Expeditions Pioneer Program? Brad Drazan, a fifth grade teacher at Eagle View, submitted an application. Google contacted Brad in the afternoon of Friday, February 12th with a letter of “consideration”. Specific information needed to be confirmed by Wednesday, February 17th for final approval. For example, at least 20 teachers had to select a tour destination, schedule a 30-minute class visit, and attend an instructional training session. By the end of the visit, nearly 400 students were able to participate.
What did the students think? They all showed a lot of excitement. One second grade student went as far to say, “This is the best day of my life!” View the photo gallery.
For more information about Google Expeditions, visit: https://google.com/edu/expeditions