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Google Expeditions at Rincon Middle School!

posted Dec 2, 2015, 11:33 AM by Krystle Miller   [ updated Dec 4, 2015, 9:02 AM by Tom Borer ]
“Students, today we’ll be traveling to the
Colosseum at Rome. We’ll be taking a tour inside to see where the gladiators fought. Then later on we’ll take an underwater tour of the Great Barrier Reef.”

Does this sound like your classroom? Probably not. Sadly, field trips to places like Rome or Australia aren’t feasible. But what if you could bring these amazing destinations to your classroom?

Google has developed a 3D, virtual field trip platform called Google Expeditions. It is designed to bring the field trip experience to classrooms. Google is traveling to classrooms around the world doing one-day demonstrations of their new virtual field trip. Rincon Middle School was fortunate to be selected for one of these demonstrations.

Google Expeditions is built off of the Google Cardboard platform. The Cardboard is a 3D viewer, made of Cardboard (to keep costs down). A phone with the Google Expeditions app running is placed in the cardboard. The teacher uses a tablet to run the expedition. There are over 150 Expeditions ranging from underwater, to historic locations and even the moon!

When Google comes to your school, they bring everything you need for a day of exploration. Google brought six classrooms worth of Cardboards, phones, teacher tablets and even their own wi-fi to Rincon. The systems were set up in 7th and 8th grade Social Studies classrooms. Other classes rotated in so that every student at Rincon was able to try an Expedition.

The day started with the teachers receiving a quick tutorial on how the Expedition works. The technology is extremely easy to use. Each teacher had a lesson prepared for their destination. Sixth grade visited Rome and Greece. 7th grade explored Aztec ruins and 8th grade toured historic Philadelphia.

Each Expedition lasts about 20 minutes. The teacher controls what the students see via the tablet. The teacher’s app also includes a pop-up of historic information that can be read to the students. After each teacher did their lesson, they went on a little journey around the world. The underwater sharks were a favorite!

The response from the students was amazing. The classroom was filled with “Oohs” and “Ahhs.” There were excited discussions between the students as to what they were viewing. Being able to explore far away locations really makes the learning come to life.

Google will be rolling out the Expeditions app for educator use later this year. There is currently a Cardboard app that gives you a taste of what the Expeditions app is like. The Cardboards are available now from Amazon or you can make your own. See the link below for directions. Google may also be selling an Expeditions package that includes the Cardboards and devices.

Read more about the event in the Coast News Group article.

Post by Christine Hansen, organizer of Rincon's Google Expedition Day