This year’s Google I/O developer conference was filled with many exciting announcements. One of the much anticipated services announced was ‘Expeditions’, an app that lets school teachers organize synchronised virtual school trips using the company’s Cardboard virtual reality viewer.
Google had then promised more news about the feature this fall and it has stayed true to its word. Google has today made Expeditions mainstream by taking it to many schools in the US, Australia, the United Kingdom and Brazil as part of a pilot program it calls the ‘Expeditions Pioneer Program’.
The content that the app is currently hosting, and students in the aforementioned countries are enjoying, has been compiled by Google by partnering up with providers like the American Museum of Natural History, The Smithsonian, The Planetary Society, the National Museum of Korea, Frontiers of Flight Museum, Alchemy VR, PBS, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and others. Google will also partner up with Subaru in the near future to bring the virtual field trips to schools.
Here’s what the company has to say about its pilot program:
Expeditions teams will visit selected schools around the world, starting with the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Brazil. Each team will bring a complete Expeditions kit with everything the teachers need to take their students on journeys anywhere. The team will show teachers how Expeditions works and help set it up before class.
Expeditions is a virtual reality platform built for the classroom. We worked with teachers and content partners from around the world to create more than 100 engaging journeys – making it easy to immerse students in entirely new experiences.
The kits that Google is providing schools that will sign up for the Expeditions program include everything a teacher would need for a complete VR experience for his/her students. They come in with Asus Zenfone 2’s, a tablet for the teacher, Cardboard or Mattel View-Master viewers and a local area network router that allows Expeditions to run offline if necessary.
The web giant has huge ambitions for the service and says that it wants to bring Expeditions to “thousands” of schools. This will be a tough job, if we may, as the company officials plan on visiting each school individually to explain how the service works.
If you are interesting is getting your students a taste of VR, sign up for Expeditions here.