A recent addition to the classroom resources provided by the technology department is a full set of Google Cardboard kits. These are cardboard viewers that you can slot a smartphone into and then hold up to your eyes to experience virtual reality.
There are multiple different ways to use VR in education, and we are currently running teacher professional development sessions looking at:
- YouTube 360 degree videos, which are recorded with special cameras to provide a completely 360 degree view of the movie content. There is a wide selection of educational content that has been recorded using this technique, from Planet Earth documentaries to science experiments
- Google Street View, which allows students to virtually visit most locations on earth, using Google Maps street view images and data
- The Google Arts and Culture app, in which a range of museums and galleries have created virtual exhibitions and street view style tours of their collections
- The Google Expeditions app, which allows an entire class to go on a virtual field trip, from places like Machu Picchu to Antarctica and to the International Space Station. Each location has multiple points of interest and provides the teacher with detailed content and Q&A for their class.
We recently trialled Google Expeditions in Mrs. Bryan’s Spanish classes. Her students had recently been studying the location and history of Machu Picchu and as a culminating event for the project she took them on a virtual field trip to the site. Mrs. Bryan lead them on a tour of the complete area, looking at the overall layout of the structures, how the buildings had been constructed, as well as stopping by the local mountains and rivers.
A selection of photographs from one of her classes’ expeditions can be seen below: