It wasn’t too long that the thought of going on a virtual reality journey was just a pipe dream. It was somewhat that was way off into the future (Marty McFly style tech) and to be honest it was really the sort of thing that only those with a lot of spare money to burn could ever take seriously. It was not something that the education could seriously roll out on a large scale.
For me this was highlighted most of all in the original Jurassic Park movie when the banker and the two small children were stuck inside the Jurassic Park car going around the tyrannosaurus Rex enclosure. The small boy chosen up small special night vision goggles and the banker said, “Are they heavy?” To which the boy replied, “Yes.” The banker then retorted, “Well if they are heavy. Then they’re expensive so PUT THEM BACK!”
How far have we come? Now, by using Google cardboard we are literally able to slot in a mobile device and have a virtual experience that has been very rarely used by so many. The potential for this is implausible. What this now means for education is the teachers can virtually take their students anywhere around the world.
A number of museums have already partnered with this wonderful initiative. You can now take your class to the American Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian or even the ‘potential’ to take your antique history class on a tour of the Colosseum, there is the ‘potential’ to take your science class up the side of a volcano, there is the ‘potential’ in early years to take your children to the sorts of places that can inspire inventive writing that would have been unthinkable not very long ago.
Google, with its new feature called ‘Google Expeditions’ that was originally announced at its Developer Conference’ has prolonged these ideas. They have turned the potential for cardboard into a real possibility for teachers all over the world! Truly amazing work! The exciting thing is that is just the beginning. One can only suppose that the range of possible virtual excursions/field trips will only grow from here.
I can’t wait to test out Google Expeditions with my class.