By Jill Becmer
Google Expeditions is an exciting product that allows teachers to take their classes on virtual field trips. According to Mr. Sefcik, Stanton's Principal, nothing replaces hopping on a bus for a field trip, but Expeditions provides an unparalleled opportunity for teachers to supplement learning.
Last week, 5th through 8th grade students from Stanton in Fox Lake experienced breathtaking views of vistas and landmarks around the globe. Using Google Cardboard viewers and a tablet, teachers selected a destination, and the students jumped there automatically on Google Cardboard viewers. Students "visited" the Great Wall of China, Taj Mahal, Syria, Rome, Rio, the moon, followed a rock climber in Yosemite National Forest, and went inside a shark tank deep in the ocean all while never leaving school. The trips are collections of virtual reality panoramas--360 degree photo spheres, 3D images and video, ambient sounds annotated with details, points of interest, and questions.
Mr. David Roat, Stanton's Technology Coordinator, was instrumental in bringing Expeditions to Stanton. "Having the opportunity for the Google Expedition Pioneer Program to visit Stanton School had been one of the highlights of this school year for me. Virtual Reality technology has been around for a while, but Google has shown how this educational venture provides students with the opportunity for a deeper understanding of the world beyond the classroom. Google's virtual field trips give students a panoramic view of places and things that would normally be unavailable in a classroom environment. It also parallels perfectly with curriculum already being taught at Stanton, so it is easy for our teachers to integrate Expeditions into their lesson plans. I'm looking forward to seeing how this beta program plays out. I am a huge fan!"
For more information, visit google.com/edu/expeditions