I had the chance to try out Google Expeditions today at the NYSCATE conference in Rochester.
A buddy of mine told me about this new trial program from Google, called Google Expeditions. When he first told me that students used a cardboard box to travel to locations that are controlled by teachers, I laughed and shrugged it off, until there was a session on Google’s up and coming venture.
The minute that I picked the cardboard, view-finder-looking, contraption and put it up to my eyes, I was completely blown away. From the students perspective, they can see a 360 degree view of the location that the teacher chooses. I visited the Amazon, as well as Yosemite.
This is controlled from the teacher’s device, where the teacher is given facts and information about the location. The teacher can place arrows and direct students to specific locations within the images.
Google is marketing this product as such:
Expeditions is a virtual reality platform built for the classroom. We worked with teachers and content partners from around the world to create more than 100 engaging journeys – making it easy to immerse students in entirely new experiences.
There are a few kinks Google is working out, but I’m hoping, based on what I experienced, that they can work them out quickly so we can bring a few of these devices into our school. The immersive experience the students can take away from this device can be game changing, to say the least.
Right now, Google has only developed the software for Andriod devices, not Apple. Bummer. But, it does sound like their working hard to get this out on multiple platforms. They are also looking for a cheap way to make this available to schools, which may be the most important piece of the puzzle.
Either way, I was on total geek alert when I tried this out. But, more than that, as an elementary teacher, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with the number of lesson ideas that shot into my head when I tried Expeditions.
So, Google…keep working on this, and if you’re looking for a teacher to pilot for you, I’m your man.