History class: For most of us, it conjures images of heavy textbooks with never-ending columns of text, dry, monotonous lectures, and uninspiring maps and diagrams. Classes like these may soon become a thing of the past, though, with the introduction of Google Expeditions. Using the Google Expeditions app and a simple Google Cardboard viewer, teachers and students can take virtual trips to more than one hundred places, including landmarks like Chichen Itza, the Great Wall of China, Buckingham Palace, and even Mars. Suddenly, places that had once been inaccessible to most students are within arm’s reach.
Expeditions has already attracted an array of high-profile partners, from PBS and the Wildlife Conservation Society to British documentarian David Attenborough. But the virtual trips are not limited to topics related to history or geography. As part of its collaboration with the Starship Foundation, which provides young women of color from low-income families with resources to finish college, Google has prepared a series of “day in the life” tours in which you will be able to follow various professionals, like a veterinarian and a computer scientist, through a typical work day. It’s a fun way to let young people explore potential future career options. Michelle Obama and her Reach Higher initiative also joined the Expedition project to prepare a series of virtual college tours.
No matter the latitude, whenever Google Expeditions visits a school, the classrooms tend to be filled with “oohs” and “aahs.” We’re certain that soon enough VR headsets will become indispensable parts of any classroom. If only they had been around when we were kids!