Google brought the world into our school as part of the Google Expedition AR program. Each class took an augmented reality field trip to an exotic location like the International Space Station, or Ancient Rome. Students were able to learn and interact as they physically walked around experiencing these locations in augmented reality (AR). An amazing opportunity for all our kiddos to go somewhere they never thought possible, showing them that nothing is out of their reach!
The Power of the Virtual Field Trip:
Yesterday our school managed to take all 558 students on a field trip, not just to the park either, but exotic locations like Rome, the Louvre, and even the Jurassic Era. It wasn’t magic or a miracle, it was just technology. While I firmly believe nothing can beat the real deal, taking a field trip can often be a huge headache for a teacher. Beyond the finding a place and planning, busses can be expensive and difficult to book, chaperones aren’t always easy to come by, and then even if you manage all that some students might not even be able to afford admission. With Google Cardboard and their AR & VR programs you don’t even have to leave the classroom.
Each time a new image was brought to life on the device in front of the students the room echoed with a din of awe and excitement. The engagement and wonder were palpable as well as the gentlest flutter of imagination. Even the teachers running the program found themselves getting drawn into the experience. I know when that tsunami can crashing down in front of me, I had to duck a little bit.
The define it themselves as “Show and Tell meets Augmented Reality” Part of the Google Edu initiative its a TOTALLY FREE program that all you have to do is sign up for it. The sign-up process is a totally quick and painless Google Form and they contacted me within weeks to set up a date. The pioneer program asked that each teacher received a quick 15 minute training on the devices and then set up in a location of our school. Then, throughout the day in 30 minute increments classrooms came down and were able to be magically (scientifically) transported to wherever “expedition” their teacher signed them up for. It was that easy and that painless. I can recommend the program enough! With literally hundreds of options there is sure to be something for everyone, here’s a comprehensive list of what they offer.