Students at the International School of Louisiana went on some remarkable field trips recently to China, the Caribbean, Mount Everest, Antarctica and Ethiopia.
They never had to wait in line to get passports, take their shoes off at airport security or experience flight delays. Instead, representatives from Google came to the New Orleans school to demonstrate Google Expedition, a collection of virtual reality panoramas that seem to be the high-tech cousins of the ViewMaster.
Instead of discs with slides, Google Expedition uses 360-degree photo spheres, three-dimensional images, and video and ambient sounds to create an experience that’s perhaps the next best thing to being there.
In the classroom, a box arrives with everything needed for “travel”: a tablet for the teacher, and cardboard viewers and phones for every student. The teacher selects a destination, and the entire classroom jumps there not in body, but visually, aurally and in spirit. The program is designed to adapt easily into existing schoolwork for supplemental learning.
The Wildlife Conservation Society, PBS, the American Museum of Natural History, the Planetary Society and the Palace of Versailles contributed to developing Google Expedition curriculum.