Short of the Magic School Bus, class field trips are a logistically-complicated affair, and generally limited to places within easy driving distance of the school. One of the long-promised goals of virtual reality is to enable students to explore the whole universe without leaving the classroom’s confines. Google has now taken tangible steps to make that possibility available to students with the announcement of Expeditions at I/O 2015.
Expeditions comes as a complete kit with everything that a teacher needs to take their entire classroom on a magical VR fieldtrip. Every student gets a Cardboard headset and accompanying phone to use with it. The teacher gets a tablet from which to orchestrate the adventure. All of the phones and tablet come already synced up for ease of use.
Hundreds of classrooms around the world have already been using Expeditions for the last few months, to rave reviews. Students studying Romeo and Juliet have been able to see the streets of fair Verona, where we lay our scene. Aspiring marine biologists have explored the depths of the world’s oceans while staying safely dry. Explorers have walked along the Great Wall of China.
Google has currently partnered with a variety of museums, sites, and educational organizations around the world to create content for expeditions. These include the American Museum of Natural History, the Planetary Society, the Palace of Versailles, and more. These partners will be working hard all summer to create more content in time for students to start the new school year in the fall.
Teachers can sign up now if they want to get Expeditions for their classroom. Google is also seeking people who want to help create content for Expeditions, sharing their local museums, landmarks, or generally interesting locales with countless students around the world.