Thing 13: Augmented & Virtual Reality

Okay…so I know I went backward but I had to fit this tool in since AR and VR are literally everywhere these days. This post is going to focus on Virtual Reality because I feel that is most transferable to my content areas (so far). To get started in virtual reality, I looked at Google Expeditions.

Let me first just say I love that Google doesn’t charge for every application. I also love that there are so many options for classrooms to experience an expedition from smartphones, tablets, and VR viewers. Google has also been kind enough to provide a Google Sheet that lists all of their expeditions with a summary, content area, and grade level(s).

It was easy to download to my phone and even easier to navigate. I appreciate that students can join the expedition and explore the location themselves or be guided by the teacher or another student. I chose the expedition for Machu Pichu and loved that I could see key features of the area including its architecture and agriculture.

This gave me a lot to think about in terms of how I could use this in my classroom. Since I teach ELA and Spanish, the idea of getting students on virtual field trips is really appealing. Just considering Spanish alone, expeditions in VR will give my students such a better sense of a place and its significance to Latin American culture than a simple photo can. I don’t just need to use a pre-made expedition either. I can create one or my students can complete research and create a learning experience for their classmates. If I were teaching about Shakespeare, students could attend an expedition about the Globe Theater to help build a foundation and understanding of how Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed. The opportunities here are truly endless.

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