Google Expeditions is an initiative with the big idea of bringing virtual reality to thousands of children through relatively inexpensive tech.
With the pioneer program at Expeditions, which was launched in September, teachers can take their classes on immersive virtual journeys to bring their lessons to life. Through a Google cardboard viewer, a teacher can lead a class of students with these VR field trips that include editable notes and over 100 locations, ranging from the bottom of the sea to the surface of Mars.
Earlier this month, KIPP Central City Academy hosted a product demo to introduce the technology to kids, educators and members of the local tech community. The team brought a complete Expeditions kit with everything the teachers need to engage the students.
The product will only be launched in select cities across the world including in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, Singapore, and Denmark. U.S. cities that have or will be able to experience Expeditions outside of New Orleans are Baltimore, Detroit, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City, among others as the program expands.
The locations for the demos were chosen based on the interest from teachers and schools that signed up through a form on the website.
“We are traveling to classrooms across the U.S. and the globe throughout the next academic year to pilot Expeditions and learn from students and teachers,” said Jen Holland, who is leading the Expeditions program and is the Program Manager for Google Apps for Education at Google.
Additionally, they will be releasing the app later this school year so that schools can incorporate Expeditions into their curriculum and lessons.
“Expeditions is a powerful learning tool for teachers to engage their students with a new dimension of discovery,” continued Holland. “While nothing replaces hopping on the bus for a field trip, Expeditions provides students with an opportunity to visit places that are out of reach or difficult to get to.”
“In addition to exposing students to new places, we are exploring other ways Expeditions can open eyes and minds. A priority for us is building a large repository of career Expeditions so students can get exposure to various careers. We’re also working with the First Lady’s team as part of her Reach Higher program to create college Expeditions so that students can virtually visit a college campus to get a better feel for the school.”