Expeditions Exceed Expectations

How would you like to travel without the hassle of luggage and logistics? Students at Hopkins School were able to step on location of their learning without leaving the building. The Google Expeditions Pioneer Program stopped by the school on Monday, March 28 and within twenty minutes, revolutionized learning for students and their teachers.

Expeditions combines an immersive virtual reality experience using Google Cardboard technology with annotated panoramic images. The program is designed by teachers for teachers, so the content easily integrates into existing curriculum. Teachers use a tablet to guide students through the virtual environment directing their tourists to key features while pausing for discussion and instruction. Students participate using Android devices outfitted with Google Cardboard. The technology is truly up for the task. Do you believe it even tracks whether students are following along the tour?

“I have never seen my students so excited to see the places that we studied in 3- D. We went to the Mayan ruins and to Machu Picchu!” ~Maribeth Tremblay, Grade 5 Teacher

Although currently in beta, Google Expeditions already boasts 195 virtual journeys. Hopkins teachers selected one of the curriculum-related expeditions for their class. Whether it was a trip to the Moon or Mars, a tour of land biomes, a launch through the stratosphere or a visit to Ellis Island — to name a few — the learning was palpable. Students were able to experience the curriculum at a level previously unimaginable. Teachers adapted well to the technology and were thrilled at how it engaged and enhanced their lessons.

Mrs. Clark leads her students on an Expedition: America Expands West.

Mrs. Clark leads her students on an Expedition: America Expands West.

The amount of experiential learning packed into a twenty minute session was remarkable. It is no wonder that teachers and students were begging for more. Perhaps the best endorsement came from a parent who shared that her fourth grader was so inspired by his experience that he went home, rummaged through the recycle bin, and designed his own cardboard. Wow! When was the last time you saw a student so invested in his learning?

By: Steph Doty
 Technology Integration Coordinator
 Hopkins School
 @HopkinsTechLib / @BlendedTeaching
Cross-posted to HPSDigital

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