Expedition – free field-trip simulation software
You might have heard of Spotlight stories, a 360-degree movie app developed by Google. But you might not have heard about Expedition, the same concept but enhanced with virtual reality technology.
Expedition is a project that Google currently is running to enhance the learning experience in the classroom. Just a ordinary Smartphone and a pair of cardboard goggles is sufficient to create the sense of really being on the spot (Statt, 2015). So far, Google and its educational partners have developed around 100 virtual reality field trips, such as virtual visits to the Great Wall of China, Independence Hall in Philadelphia and El Capitan, a rock formation in Yosemite National Park (Singer, 2015). The students are not only able to see the scenery from every angle, but at the time it also improves the understanding of the certain topic. This will make the learning experience more enjoyable than ever before. But there are other applications, for example it can also serve as a tool to help student virtually shadowing professionals throughout their workdays, which is in my opinion an excellent way to prepare for the future job.
Despite the fact that the simulation only satisfies two senses: sound and sight and therefore the whole experience atmosphere is incomplete. It is still way better than the plain image and video what we are used to. Because the degree of involvement is just incomparable. And above of all, Google is providing this service for free (at least for now), the company does see the opportunity to charge for the service, the price however will depend on whether they can manage to drive the cost to an acceptable level.
Currently, the project is taking its place in several part of US, Brazil, UK, Australia and New Zealand. But I am really eager to see it spread out to the rest of world, especially to the developing countries, since it will mean a huge boost to their education level.
– Statt, N. (2015) Google is offering its virtual reality classroom system to schools for free, http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/28/9409571/google-expeditions-virtual-reality-field-trips, 8 Oktober 2015
– Singer, N. (2015) Google Virtual-Reality System Aims to Enliven Education, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/29/technology/google-virtual-reality-system-aims-to-enliven-education.html, 8 Oktober 2015