Google Expeditions

Today, thanks to my friend Sandra Chow, I was invited to experience Google Expeditions at Lawrence Heights Middle School in Toronto (A big thank you to Principal David DeBelle too!).

The hype about Google Expeditions is well-deserved: this is one amazing concept. Students and teachers alike were enthralled from the beginning of the day to the end. Led by Chris Zhu from Google, teachers were able to choose from a list of about 100 different expeditions to try out with their students and we were given a brief training on how to use the app prior to our sessions.

Check out the excitement of these Joyce Street PS students!

Unfortunately, the Expeditions app is not yet available to the public: Chris told me that it won’t be available until the end of the year. This means that the only way that you will get to experience the full Google Expeditions repertoire is if a Google rep comes to your school to demonstrate it. The problem is, many schools have applied but only a few get chosen (Tip from Sandra: get lots of teachers at your school to apply separately since Google responds to high demand!).

The premise of the app is that you can take your students on virtual field trips around the world. However, you DO need the Google Cardboard viewers and the devices to insert into the viewers (smartphones or iPods) to experience this virtual reality. Fortunately, the Google Expeditions leader supplies these for your students: Chris came with 60 viewers and devices for us to use, so we were able to rotate many classes during the entire day: 2 classes at a time, every half an hour. Thanks to Sandra and David for their brilliant and creative timetabling to make this work! 

Click here for a brief post-expedition presentation that we put together with links to many Virtual Reality apps you can use right away with your students. You and your students don’t need to wait for Google Expeditions to get started: you can explore Virtual Reality on your own!

(Click here for a blogpost by Holly Clark on Google Expeditions, here for a blogpost by Rolland Chidiac and here for a blogpost by Jennifer Casa-Todd.

Here are some photos taken today of Lawrence Heights Middle School and Joyce Public School students and staff: What a great group! I look forward to sharing my learning with students and staff at my school, Crescent School, as soon as I can!

(Photo courtesy Julie Millan)

(Principal David DeBelle on the left)

(Julie Millan photo)

Me, with Julie Millan and Sandra Chow

... and Andrew Schmitt!

Chris Zhu from Google

Lawrence Heights MS teachers learning how to use the app
Exploring the teacher tablet (photo courtesy Andrew Schmitt)


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