Virtual Field Trips with Google Expeditions

Schools often do not have the budgets to take field trips beyond a few local locals and students may never get a chance to experience much of what is out there.  With this app, you can bring the world to them in a new way that is more interactive and puts exploration more firmly in their hands.  Welcome, Google Expeditions.

In this video you see it being paired with Google Cardboard, a relatively inexpensive piece of hardware (under $10) to get the 3D experience.  Unfortunately, not all students may have VR ready phones, and as cheap as the Cardboard VR set is, getting one for every student can still get pricey.  Luckily this app does not require the use of the 3D goggles; you can also view it full screen and have it as a regular app.

The next step in this is equally cool.  How many of you heard about the pokemon go craze where people were hunting for pokemon all over the city?  With the newer add-on of AR or Augmented Reality, you can have your students hunting the school or classroom for cool interactive 3D items with their phones.

One worry I had was whether or not this app would at all be available with a Chromebook.  While students are increasingly tech-savvy, I don’t expect that all of my 5th-graders have phones available to them.  Thankfully 

6 Android Apps to Try on a Chromebook

In the classroom next year I expect that this could be an amazing tool both for Science explorations and for literacy.  Having students experience different environments and historic places might better help them to imagine what they are reading and inspire them in their writing as well.

Another point not discussed in these videos is that often there are little signposts that students can click on in the video and read or be read to.  This really helps make the content accessible to a wider range of learners.

I look forward to seeing what we can do with this app and posting the progress in the coming year.  There isn’t much information out there to see how usable it is on Chromebooks and I hope to document it once we get them in.

Happy exploring everyone!


About Jennifer Cox

A life time Oregonian, I've traveled and taught ESL courses in China the past five years and have recently returned to teach at Myrtle Creek Elementary this past Fall and begin the road towards earning my master's here at Pacific. Currently, I'm teaching in the Kindergarten classroom but will be taking on a new role as a 5th-grade teacher this coming Fall. I'm excited to get kids working on building their collaboration and leadership skills, growth mindset, and working on projects that they can publish (hopefully both electronically and physically within the school). It will be a fun challenge, as my teaching partner and I will be the beginning of a new team at MCE for 5th. The possibilities have me enthused for the new year. As an educator, my greatest goal is to inspire a desire to learn and try to understand, not just academics, but each other and themselves. A part of that is my hope that students take away more than just content knowledge but an understanding of how to learn, how to use the tools they have been given, and what some of the possibilities might be. I desire to see students leave my classroom with the tools and mindset needed to be successful in whatever their personal goals might be. In the process, I hope to connect students to the micro and macro environments of which they are apart. Helping them see where they might fit in the broader environs and communities of their city, state, nation, and world. Prior to teaching, I've had a background in linguistics, with a bit of a history with cake decorating, computer science, and a touch of archaeology. Each topic has its own story and several more behind it. I expect that as a teacher, and a student, my hunger for knowledge will not be quenched any time soon. As we start this journey in the world where tech and education meet, I hope those of you following along will find useful tips, resources, and stories that will help both students and teachers alike.
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