Here we go – into the world of Virtual Reality. The Google Expeditions app and website is getting great press lately in education circles by partnering with various corporations like National Geographic, the National Parks Service and the American Museum of Natural History to collect more than 500 virtual field trips (including the National Space Station, so not your average field trip) in one place.
The app is free and field trips appear in 3D as long as you provide a pair of 3D goggles like these to your students to view the field trip on and a Smartphone or Android in a recent generation. This would cost about $400 for a class set of 20 goggles and you can ask parents to donate used iphones and androids, add the app and use with the class.
Or, you can invest in the Google Expedition Best Buy set of goggles, devices and a hand held teacher device for more money. The Canadian prices are available upon request from BestBuy.ca but the American pricing is in the $3,000 to $9,000 range.
Yes, it is all in one place and can be used for a class of 10 or 20 students and it is hardware that will be obsolete over time. The concern is that it will be obsolete in a very short time.
The idea is wonderful. Have your students stay in class and experience other geographical or historical places without actually going there. Consider what you want to invest in this idea. Ask yourself some pretty thought provoking questions like:
- How many times a term will we use this technology?
- Will the field trips be “embedded” in the curriculum?
- Is this technology an add on?
- How do I see this technology increasing the engagement and learning in my students?
Once you honestly answer these questions then decide on a plan of action and consider looking for blogposts from teachers who have successfully used the technology.
And make a decision about how much you would like to invest in the technology and how far into the future before another shiny new technology catches your eye.
The expensive kit would be a wonderful addition to any school edtech collection but not all schools are ready to commit thousands of dollars to one technology. Look for a way to try it out without a big price tag.