VIRTUAL REALITY IN THE CLASSROOM
When I first heard the term virtual reality, I thought of video games. Although virtual reality, or VR, and video games are often paired together, VR has made its way into classrooms across the world. Virtual reality has become a global collaboration tool that has transformed the way students are learning. Through a cardboard headset, Google has given educators the necessary tools to take students on virtual field trips and expeditions across the world. Google Cardboard is a virtual reality headset, made of cardboard, that can be purchased for $15. With this simple headset, users are transported to a different place.
ASSEMBLED GOOGLE CARDBOARD
Many educators have implemented virtual reality in their classrooms as a way to raise global awareness. Virtual reality allows students to see other parts of the world, places they have only imagined. Students are able to see, firsthand, how people across different countries live and experience life. VR takes learning outside the classroom. Through one Google resource, Google Earth, teachers have been able to create Google Expeditions, Google Eath Tours, and Google Lit Trips, which take students on virtual trips throughout the world.
Google Expeditions are virtual field trips that explore everything from museums to underwater reefs. Google expeditions are controlled by a teacher from a single device. Students are toured through panoramic expeditions simultaneously, enabling each student to explore the 360-degree views. Google Expeditions are available for hundreds of destinations, which allows Google Expeditions to be easily introduced into curriculum and lessons. A list of expeditions is available for educators, it is kept up-to-date with the newest expeditions.
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Imagine teaching a lesson where students learn about the White House. It would be an amazing and educational experience for students to visit, but it is not always realistic. With virtual reality and Google Eath Tours, it is possible to transport an entire class to any location in the world, even the White House. Similar to Google Expeditions, Google Earth Tours uses a virtual reality headset to immerse students into a different place. Students can discover the world by placing themselves into any location they wish. Want to explore the depths of the sea where the Titanic sunk? Google Earth Tours can take you there.
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Students often read literature that takes place in a foreign land, but students may fail to truly grasp the lifestyles and understand the book’s settings. Google Lit Trips are specifically designed for travel stories. Google Lit Trips take students on a journey to where stories take place. Through a VR headset, students can see what life is like across the world and better understand characters and settings. Students are taken on the character’s journey and walked through specific locations. At each location, students are able to reference the location back to the book through prompts. Pre-made Google Lit Trip lessons are available for download for educators.
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Through virtual reality, such as Google Expeditions, Google Earth Tours, and Google Lit Trips, students are able to experience life outside the classroom. Virtual learning gives students the ability to become culturally and globally aware. Virtual trips allow students to experience and understand the culture that they may have never experienced if it was not for virtual reality in their classroom.