Want to take your class to the International Space Station? Well now you can, with a Google Expedition! Google Expeditions is a new virtual reality teaching tool that lets teachers lead their class on immersive virtual trips all over the world. Take them to look at historical landmarks, dive underwater with sharks, even visit a real space station!
What Does it Do?
The Google Expeditions app allows a teacher acting as a “guide” to lead classroom-sized groups of “explorers” through collections of 360° and 3D images while pointing out interesting sights along the way.
The Teacher sets their device up as the guide and chooses an expedition to run. The children can then connect as explorers via their own devices. The teacher can lead the expedition, moving to different scenes and pointing out different features. Teachers will see a teachers guide that they can use, with suggested questions.
The children are able to follow in Explore along with a guide in immersive VR by putting a phone or iPod touch into a Google Cardboard viewer or using a tablet or phone in 2D “magic window” mode. Moving the device will allow them to look around the scene and explore.
Teachers can choose from a growing list of over 200 Expeditions – each one is a curated set of VR imagery along with integrated descriptions, talking points and questions. The TES website has examples of how teachers are using Google Expeditions with their classes.
The teacher can see where the children are by little smiley faces on their screen. Clicking on the screen will show an arrow, so the children can see what is being talked about.
What do you need?
The Google Expeditions app is available for both iOS and Android systems. It’s becomes immersive with Google Cardboard headsets, but these are not essential. It will work fine on Android tablets or iPads.
All the devices will need to be connected to the same WiFi network. If the Guide has downloaded some Expeditions, there is no internet connectivity required to run the Expedition!
This video explains more:
I found it a really simple system to get up and running. From the app is was quick to launch an expedition and connect a couple of devices. There are plenty of different expeditions to choose from and download. This would be great for many different subjects. Geography and Science are obvious ones, but many other subjects would find a way to use this in their lessons.
Do check your wifi settings in-school to make sure it works before you try and lead a class. Make sure explorers can connect to the leader device.
Disclosure : Google sent me a free Google Cardboard to try out Expeditions.