I imagine a time in the not too distant future when virtual world’s will be almost indistinguishable from that of our physical world. Such technology would change everything from travel to business to entertainment, sports, and perhaps most importantly our children’s education.
Imagine a teacher having the ability to take his/her class on a virtual field trip anywhere in the world or even out of this world, ie. Mars. That’s just what Google was aiming to accomplished when they announced the Google Expeditions plan back in May.
Now this initiative has progressed a giant step further as the Mountain View, California-based company has just unveiled its Expeditions Pioneer Program. The new program will provide invaluable resources to schools across the globe, enabling students to experience life-like field trips across the planet, and even under the sea or on Mars, all for a cost which won’t drain their budgets.
Those participating in the Expeditions Pioneer Program, which Google claims will amount to thousands of educators this school year alone in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, the UK, and the US, will have access to a library featuring hundreds of virtual trips. They will also all receive a package which includes the tools necessary to get started with virtual learning. This package includes virtual reality headsets for students (Google Cardboard or Mattel View-Masters) powered by ASUS ZenFone 2 smartphones, a special router to enable VR tours even when an internet connection is unavailable, and a tablet for the teacher or instructor to guide each virtual field trip.
Additionally Google will also be providing virtual career orientations “to help students explore future careers by showing them a virtual day in the life of professionals including a veterinarian and computer scientist,” Google’s David Quaid wrote in a recent blog post.
For educators looking to participate in this innovative new program, Google urges them all to sign up for possible inclusion on the Expeditions Pioneer Program website.
With virtual reality technology continuing to advance, this new program by Google could be a precursor to a much broader rollout of virtual reality-enabled education within schools around the world over the next several years, which we will be sure to follow here at IR.net