Since my first introduction to Google Cardboard at ISTE 2015 last summer, I have been eagerly waiting to see what comes to the surface as teachers experiment with virtual reality. Unfortunately, my school has not been chosen as a site to visit as Google Expeditions takes its product across the country.
I have to say that I was really impressed by Google’s demonstration at ISTE with Expeditions. The wireless headsets and the ability to point out virtually the features of a museum were very impressive. As a safety measure, I was glad I could pull my visor off when I got a little dizzy. Additionally, having chairs on casters was a necessary essential as you want to turn your body to get a 360-degree view of climb
ing a mountain! (I have to confess that a fear of heights drops away when you can feel your feet on the ground!)
I’m fortunate to have a small set of Cardboard visors that I have made part of my student help desk’s team project this quarter. They have been exploring the options that we have on our smartphones. We first thought that we could design “crime scenes” that students could be immersed in for our forensic science course. That ran into some bumps when we couldn’t figure out a way to share the images. Now, our best leads are in working with world languages, geography and art teachers to get students to explore using Google Streetview captures of landmarks and even some museums like the Uffizi in Florence. Fortunately, students who do not have smartphones have the same access to Streetview because our students also carry MacBook Airs loaded with Google Earth.
Below is a screenshot of a Word Online document I’ll be using to collaborate with our AP Art History teacher as we plan an “Amazing Race” review. Curriculum changes in that AP course has now focused study on art embedded in architecture and religious landmarks in addition to the art in museums.
My first exposure was a thrill at ISTE, and I hope that virtual reality can have some powerful reach for our students who may never travel the world. If you’re interested in partnering on some lesson ideas, please get in touch!