Monday, March 28, 2016

The Wonder of Virtual Reality

We had a little WOW factor in media class last week. Google Expeditions Pioneer Program visited Jeffers Pond and Glendale Elementary Schools.  Students in grades 2-5 participated in a virtual reality experience unlike any other available to them - yet. Students were diving into the ocean learning about the life of an aquanaut, grasping for leaves in the Rain-forest and flying to outer space in search of Neil Armstrong's shadow on the moon.

The experience exceeded all of my expectations. The app, Google Expeditions, which will be available next fall, was very user friendly. There was both a teacher application and a student application.  The app on my teacher device allowed me to guide students through the virtual field trip on their 3D viewing devices (using Google Cardboard).  As the tour guide, there were guiding questions, points of interest, and notes about each destination available on my device.

I discovered the Google Expedition opportunity while scanning my favorite place for educational resources: Twitter.  Today I found this quote by Jeff Goldstein (@doctorjeff) on Twitter too: "A classroom is not a place, it's a frame of mind. It's anywhere a teacher patiently & artfully takes a student on a journey."  Google Expeditions is making that literal journey a little more tangible for our students and a little easier for our teachers. The figurative journey we want to take our kids on is always up to us as educators and the attitudes we share with one another. Thank you to all of the classroom teachers for your participation with the Expedition journey and for being so supportive. Thanks to those people that helped to make the day run smoothly too - My generous colleagues: Anne and Lia (@DauerAnne, @MediaLiaQuin), our fabulous Media Support: Denise and Val, student teacher Laura, Sara (@sara_plsas) and of course Dr. Warner (@warnerkrw) and Mr. Richardson (@SamRichardsonMN)! 

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