Sierra Verde Selected To Try Out Google Expeditions
Google Expeditions is a new pilot program that allows teachers to take their classes on virtual reality field trips. Sierra Verde third through eighth grades were chosen among only 1000 classrooms nationwide to experience this Google product before it is made available to the public.
Here's how it works; A cardboard viewer (yes, cardboard), like the old ViewMasters from 25 years ago, is designed to house any smart phone. A student downloads a specially designed Google app that shows cool scenery in a left and right eye separation, creating a 3-D image. There will be more than 2 million cardboard viewers in circulation by the end of the year and our students saw it first.
This technology immerses the student in experiences that bring abstract concepts to life and gives students a deeper understanding of their world beyond the classroom. With over 100 programs to choose from, you can view Buckingham Palace, take an African safari, deep sea dive, or go to the moon..... which is what our 7th grade students did.
Dennis Foote, SV 7th grade science teacher, said, "Google Expeditions takes the students out of the classroom and gives them a 360 degree panoramic view of space. Our class went to the moon, saw the Apollo 11 moon lander, the American flag that is still flying, and the famous Neal Armstrong footprints as if they were there. The kids could see the earth from the moon themselves."
Another class went to the Palace of Versailles in France. Students were heard saying, "Is this real gold on the ceiling? Oh!!! It's right there!". "I would love to live there. This is the best field trip ever!" "I feel like I am there."
One side affect of this teaching style is motion sickness. Lessons last about 20 minutes and then kids take a break so they can re-orient themselves to their classroom surroundings.
While nothing replaces hopping on a bus for a field trip, Google Expeditions provided a brilliant opportunity for teachers to integrate supplemental learning in an inexpensive way all through technology. Go STEM!