Google Expeditions and Daydream VR Makes the World an AR Classroom

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Google Expeditions
Google Expeditions | YouTube.com

Google Cardboard offers VR immersive experiences in all areas, and education is no exception. Now accessible to everyone, Google Expeditions was first designed specifically for teachers and students.

Google has put its digital solutions at the service of education of the younger generations with a dedicated platform. Google Education is an ecosystem of cloud-based tools tailored for educators and their students: productivity tools, devices, and apps all gathered in one place.

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Google Expeditions: Educative VR/AR

One of Google Education tools is Expeditions, which – launched two years ago at Google I/O 2015 – is a VR app that works especially with Google Cardboard (now Google Daydream), allowing teachers to introduce students to places that are otherwise inaccessible due to logistical impossibilities.

The educator is the one who chooses what VR/AR experience they wish to show (sort of like a conventional classroom projector), and the students are the spectators of these experiences to be explored from an educational angle.

Via the Google Expeditions app, and under the guidance of the teacher, students are a group of explorers who, without leaving their classroom, can go on virtual trips to space, underwater, museums, world landmarks, reproductions of historical scenes and etc.

Since its launch, the app has attracted millions of students from many countries who have made this journey into this interactive, 3D environment. Hundreds of partners have joined Google to design these virtual tours, including TV networks, VR/AR content producers, tech labs, museums and cultural institutions.

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Unlike other industries and sectors, the public school has hardly evolved, and the classroom environment has remained as it has for a very long time: pupils sitting in rows, teacher lecturing while writing on a board. In that regard, there’s no doubt that new tech, and especially VR/AR solutions, could completely transform learning and teaching process.

New technologies are costly and complex in most cases to be adopted by the classroom. Google solutions (via Daydream VR, Expeditions app, and other tools) respond to this by being relatively inexpensive, easy-to-use and above all a formidable gateway to immersive educational content.

Imagine trying to take hundreds of children to a museum. Aside from obvious cost issues, how much time is available to give each student a truly immersive experience? VR creates this in an almost unlimited capacity.

According to a report by Docebo, in recent years, online education market has witnessed a constant and fast growth. Worldwide, self-paced e-learning market reached $51.5 billion USD in 2016, up from $35.6 billion USD in 2011, with the U.S. spending the most on self-paced e-learning products and services.

Google has been pushing to introduce its products–low-cost device like Chromebooks and free software and apps–into schools by enlisting the help teachers and administrators to promote them.

Over 30 million children in the U.S. are using at least one of Google’s education tools. From where we’re sitting, it’s a win-win for Google, teachers and students alike.

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