It wasn’t too long ago that the thought of going on a virtual reality journey was just a pipe dream. It was something that was way off into the future (Marty McFly style tech) and to be honest it was really the sort of thing that only those with a lot of spare money to burn could ever take seriously. It was not something that the education could seriously roll out on a large scale.
For me this was highlighted most of all in the original Jurassic Park movie when the banker and the two small children were stuck inside the Jurassic Park car going around the tyrannosaurus rex enclosure. The small boy picked up small special night vision googles and the banker said, “Are they heavy?” To which the boy replied, “Yes.” The banker then retorted, “Well if they are heavy, then they’re expensive so PUT THEM BACK!”
How far have we come? Now, by using Google cardboard we are literally able to slot in a mobile device and have a virtual experience that has been very rarely used by so many. The potential for this is incredible. What this now means for education is the teachers can virtually take their students anywhere around the world. A number of museums have already partnered with this wonderful initiative. You can now take your class to the American Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian or even the National Museum of Korea. There is the ‘potential’ to take your ancient history class on a tour of the Colosseum, there is the ‘potential’ to take your science class up the side of a volcano, there is the ‘potential’ in early years to take your children to the sorts of places that can inspire imaginative writing that would have been on thinkable not very long ago.
Google with its new feature called ‘Google Expeditions’ that was originally announced at its Developer Conference has expanded these ideas. They have turned the potential for cardboard into a real possibility for teachers all over the world! Truly Amazing Work! The exciting thing is that this is just the beginning. One can only assume that the range of possible virtual excursions / field trips will only grow from here.
I can’t wait to test it out Google expeditions with my class when the school term for resumes shortly.