Google Expeditions virtual reality program visits Decatur schools
City Schools of Decatur (CSD) says the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program recently visited Decatur High School and Renfroe Middle School.
A CSD email said, “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 give students a deeper understanding of the world beyond the classroom.”
A box comes with a tablet for the teacher and Google Cardboard viewers and phones for every student. The teacher selects a destination which the class can then see virtually through the box.
Google describes it this way: “Expeditions are guided tours of places schools buses can’t go. They are comprised of virtual reality panoramas and are led by a guide or teacher. Using a tablet, teachers can guide up to 50 students wearing virtual reality viewers. Teachers can guide their class and point out highlights while referring to editable notes.”
CSD said in an email, “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.” The email noted, “While nothing replaces hopping on the bus for a field trip, Expeditions provide an unparalleled opportunity for supplemental learning. Seeing the brilliant ways teachers integrate VR in their classes has taught us so much already.”
Decatur High teacher Agnes Wells is quoted as saying, “We traveled virtually to Versailles, France and Ypres, Belgium. Several of my students had never travelled outside of the U.S. before, and this introduction peaked their interest in international travel. The students really enjoyed the 3-D aspect of the Expeditions, and many of them thanked me for allowing them to participate in the virtual field trips.”
Google allows schools to sign up online to do the Expeditions program.