Imagine journeying to the rainforests of South America, visiting a village in Asia, or deep-sea diving, all without leaving the confines of a classroom in the United States. What sounds like fantasy has been made into (virtual) reality by Google. Last year, the company announced their decision to expand their Exhibitions Pioneer Program, which allows students to use virtual reality devices to “travel” the globe during class (Hansman, 2016). One significant benefit of this technology is its affordability, and, by extension, its accessibility to all different types of school districts. The device each student uses for the experience, Cardboard, costs only about $20 per student, making it significantly cheaper than any field trip to the places virtual reality could take a class. Using this technology allows students to develop a greater understanding for the landscape, culture, and feel for places around the world, which could help them in their global collaborations. One teacher tells PBS, “Once students get to see the world through VR, they are ready to meet students around the world,” (“Virtual Reality Opens the Door to Global Collaboration”). Students who are able to explore countries around the world will be more eager to connect with other students from those countries and ask questions about what they saw (or, perhaps, what they might not have seen).
You can view a comprehensive list of lesson plans from Exhibitions in this spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1uwWvAzAiQDueKXkxvqF6rS84oae2AU7eD8bhxzJ9SdY/edit#gid=0
You can view individual lesson plans on the TES website here: https://www.tes.com/resources/search/?q=%23Googleexpeditions
Google explains their program here: https://edu.google.com/expeditions/, and demonstrates its classroom use in this video:
Hansman, H. (2016, February 03). How Can Schools Use Virtual Reality? Retrieved April 24, 2017, from http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/how-can-schools-use-virtual-reality-180957974/
Virtual Reality Opens the Door to Global Collaborations. (n.d.). Retrieved April 24, 2017, from http://www.pbs.org/education/blog/virtual-reality-opens-the-door-to-global-collaborations