The library at Abram Lansing Elementary School transformed into an underwater journey through the eyes of third grade students in Ms. Fitzpatrick’s class using virtual reality viewers from a Google Expeditions kit.
After adjusting their goggles, students “dove” right in. The “whoas” and “wows” were genuine, as they found themselves underwater surrounded by coral reef and sharks in the virtual tour under the sea off the coast of Australia.
The lesson on sharks was presented by Instructional Technology Integration Specialist Jen Sangiacomo and Hilary Dee and Colin Strainge, educators from the Northeastern Regional Information Center (NERIC), who provided the kits for the virtual lesson.
Google Expeditions send students on field trips virtually anywhere using just an iPad, router, virtual reality viewers and phones.
“Using Google Expeditions gives students the opportunity to explore the depths of the oceans and observe sharks in their natural habitat,” said Ms. Sangiacomo. “Virtual reality is truly an immersive experience and engages students in ways traditional learning doesn’t. They are exploring places all over the world that would be highly unlikely for them to visit any other way.”
Currently, NERIC allows teachers who attend a short orientation on Expeditions to reserve the kit for classroom use.
“The technology is always evolving,” said Ms. Sangiacomo. “In the coming years, we will see more and more of these virtual learning experiences making their way into our classrooms.”