Google Expeditions is the app for Android or iOS which allows a teacher (or student) to lead a guide trip which others can follow. It is designed to work best with the leader to be on a tablet (iOS or Android) and participants to be on a smartphone or iPod Touch placed into a Google Cardboard VR headset. There are over 450 Expeditions and more added each week. Each expedition includes multiple 360° scenes and a set of guiding questions. Currently only Google content partners can create expeditions – but it is expected Google will allow others – such as your students, to create and contribute to the Expedition collection.
Three important considerations before starting down the Expedition path.
- Google Cardboard VR headsets are not all the same. Avoid the $5 cardboard headsets and opt for the $15 – 20 plastic headsets where the lenses distance can be adjusted for different size screens and there is an optical correction adjustment (for use without eye glasses.)
- You need Smartphone – easier to find with secondary students, but for elementary classroom – you may need to purchase or ask parents (or cell phone companies) to donate old smartphones. And the device needs to have both an accelerometer (more common) and a gyroscope sensor (less common on less expensive devices.)
- The network must allow peer-to-peer sharing. Peer-to-peer sharing is often disabled to make a network more secure. Have a discussion with your tech department about available options – including creation of a special peer-to-peer network specifically for Expedition use, or the use of a dedicated router for Expedition use and not connected to the network.
These resources can help you get started with Expeditions
- Getting Started with Google Expeditions – well organized blog post with step-by-step guide
- 4 Easy Steps to Start a Google Expeditions in the Classroom – infographic
- Google Expeditions iOS App User Guide – by EdTechnocation.com
- EdTechnocations Virtual Reality site – packed with great VR information and links (from Australia)
- Google Expeditions List – a Google sheet listing more than 400 Expeditions
(@): Director REMC 4, Instructional Technology Consultant at Muskegon Area ISD and MACUL Board Member.