Bailenson contrasts experiencing virtual reality with reading news accounts and watching documentaries.
Caldwell—who used Google Expeditions to deliver a virtual reality experience set in the Holocaust—says that when his students first put on the goggles, they viewed them as a novelty.
Ron Berger, the Chief Academic Officer of EL Education, points to another factor schools should consider. He thinks virtual reality can be a powerful way to introduce kids to situations that require empathy or adopting different perspectives.
keep safety in mindsaving virtual reality for “very special experiences,” keeping it “relatively short” and not getting students dizzy or disoriented. A report Bailenson co-authored for Common Sense Media highlights the research that has—and has not—explored the effects of virtual reality on children. It states that the “potentially negative outcomes of VR include impacts on children’s sensory systems and vision, aggression, and unhealthy amounts of escapism and distraction from the physical world.”
Google Expeditions can be a fairly inexpensive way to present content. Students who have smartphones (Android or iOS) can download the Google Cardboard app and Google Expeditions for free. VR glasses can improve the experience but are not required.
Ideas for using VR in class
Do you teach biology? Take them on a tour of a virus or a cell.
Are you a professor in the arts? Visit street art around the world or the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Are you a guidance or career counselor? Bring your students to Berklee College of Music or meet a robotics engineer or female firefighter in NYC.
Astronomy professor? Send your students on the Juno mission to Jupiter or to experience the aurora borealis.
Professors of education can build lessons with your students so they can teach elementary students about animal camouflage or take children on a tour of the Aztec and Mayan pyramids.
Like any augmented reality app, the new AR content in Google Expeditions lets students view and manipulate digital content in a physical world context. The new AR content can be used as components in science, math, geography, history, and art lessons. Some examples of the more than 100 AR tours that you’ll now find in the app include landforms, the skeletal system, dinosaurs, ancient Egypt, the brain, and the Space Race.
To use the AR content available through Google Expeditions you will need to print marker or trigger sheets that students scan with their phones or tablets. Once scanned the AR imagery appears on the screen. (You can actually preview some of the imagery without scanning a marker, but the imagery will not be interactive or 3D). Students don’t need to look through a Cardboard viewer in order to see the AR imagery.
Cast for Education is an app that works on Chrome OS, macOS and Windows. The app is launching in a public beta today and is available as a free download. The difference between Cast and other screen sharing solutions is network-independence.
Sign in here: https://www.google.com/edu/expeditions/. A minimum of 6 interested teachers. In order to take as many students as possible on an Expedition, we’ll visit schools showing the most interest first.
Here is a taste of what lies ahead:
When viewing on a mobile phone, the user can change the point of view of the video fluidly in 360 degrees simply by moving the device around.