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Educator Shares Classroom's Experience With Google's Virtual Field Trips

Educator Shares Classroom's Experience with Google's Virtual Field Trips

When Google revealed 'Expeditions' earlier this year, everyone was interested in learning more about the prospect of providing virtual field trips in the classroom.

Hector Camacho, a high school teacher in California, has experimented with Expeditions in his classroom and is shared with eSchoolNews how it went.

Google's virtual field trips are made possible by the simplest of materials, which also makes the kit relatively inexpensive. The viewers that students use to immerse themselves in the field trip are made out of cardboard, and the technology is made possible through a smart phone.

Google reached out to Camacho's high school, St. Francis High School, and provided the cardboard viewers and smartphones to Camacho and his peers.

According to eSchoolNews, Google outlined some parameters for teachers to follow when getting started.

"Camacho and history and biology colleagues were responsible for all the prep work behind the virtual field trips. Teachers picked the locations and sent their geographical coordinates to Google, who compiled the tours based on streetview and still images. Google provided the cardboard viewers and smartphones, but asked that teachers let the kids figure out how to use everything themselves," eSchoolNews said.

Camacho said his students had no problem figuring out how to work the devices and were almost instantly connected.

He told eSchoolNews that, as an economics teacher, picking a place to take his students was initially the hardest part. But once he did- he had nothing but good things to say.

"Ultimately, he decided on a tour of the Great Recession, a concept he could convey in class but anchored by a visual look at the banks and federal buildings where much of the action took place. He started by showing each building’s facade and then, by clicking 'next' on his tablet, students were transported for various looks inside. (At launch, it will come loaded with a handful of existing tours, but teachers will eventually be able to create their own)," the article said.

Overall, Camacho found the virtual field trip kit to be a useful and efficient tool to supplement instruction in his classroom.

Expeditions may be coming to a classroom near you soon- the kits themselves are inexpensive thanks to the cardboard material and are said to be compatible across many smart phones. Google is even toying with the idea of providing smart phone devices to schools, according to the article.

Camacho said that a good idea might be for a school to only purchase and provide a few kits, but designate a space where the virtual field trips can take place like the school library.

Read the full article here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

07/24/2015

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