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Google’s Expeditions Pioneer Program slated to hit 15 new cities
You may remember when Google announced Expeditions, the company’s virtual reality program that sought to bring the beauty of the natural world right into the classroom. Now the Expeditions Pioneer Program is coming to fifteen additional cities.
Today Google for Education’s official blog announced that the program would be expanding significantly in the US, bringing its services to Alexandria, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City and Washington DC. Abroad, Expeditions will be reaching three new countries: Canada, Denmark and Singapore. The not-for profit educational initiative credits Subaru for helping in this expansion.
The Pioneer Program’s expansion comes after an encouraging response in its initial rollout. According to product manager at Google Ben Schrom, over 100,000 students have experienced Expeditions through the program in the the last two months alone. Response from teachers and administrators have been “overwhelmingly positive.” The magic of the developing technology of virtual reality seems to be engaging previously bored and jaded students.
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Expeditions are effectively virtual reality field trips designed specifically for the classroom by a band of technological innovators and professional educators. Up to fifty students at a time are led on guided tours of over 100 immersive locations. These journeys take place in a wide variety of natural environments ranging from the Antarctic to rainforests. A team from the Pioneer Program helps interested teachers understand how the process works and provides them with the materials to make the journey happen.
Currently, Expedition Pioneers provides willing classrooms with Asus smartphones that fit into either Mattel’s View-Master or Google Cardboard. The teacher is provided with a tablet to guide the experience a router that is configured by the Pioneer Program team. Google does not charge for the program in any way, and interested educators are encouraged to sign up at the Expeditions Pioneer Program website.
If you know a teacher in one of these new locations, be sure to clue them in on this opportunity!