On an Expedition

Imagine taking your students on a safari to an African savannah chasing after zebra and elephants or weaving in and out of a tropical rainforest-watching monkeys leap from tree to tree.

Hawthorn Elementary North School students experienced such a day when the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program visited their school recently. This was a very special event as only a select number of schools worldwide were chosen to experience this virtual reality.

According to Google, these Expeditions are guided virtual tours of places school buses can’t go. They are comprised of virtual reality panoramas and are led by a teacher. The Google Cardboard glasses apparatus works with a wireless device that displays three-dimensional, 360-degree panoramic images with high definition. Teachers guide students through their own exploration of a variety of sites and locations.

“The fourth grade class was excited to take a virtual field trip to a variety of biomes (regions). Prior to this experience, students worked in groups to research a region and present their findings to the class. Participating in a guided tour of various territories via a 3D platform made the biomes come alive. The visual exploration gave students the freedom to view various aspects of a given biome based on their interest,” said teacher Betsy Gehlbach.