IRVINGTON, N.Y. -- Irvington Middle School students traveled the world and explored a variety of historic and cultural destinations on May 5 without leaving their classrooms as part of Google’s Expeditions Pioneer Program.
Through the global test of the initiative every middle school student was allowed to use Google’s Cardboard viewers and smartphones, while teachers used the Expeditions Pioneer Program application and tablet to guide their students along the virtual field trip. The Cardboard is a virtual reality viewer made almost entirely of actual cardboard that allows anyone with a modern smartphone to experience a 3-D environment.
Students identified and pointed at landmarks and even reached out to try and touch turtles underwater as they walked around the various scenes. They visited several fascinating destinations around the world with a 360-degree view, like the Taj Mahal in India, the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu in Peru, the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, Chichen Itza in Mexico and the Colosseum in Italy. Some students even traveled underwater to explore coral reefs, sea creatures and a sunken ship from their seats.
“We were able to experience so many amazing places that we would never be able to go to, but we were able to do it in the classroom,” seventh-grader Nicholas Papapanou said. “It was so cool. You could see all around you like you were there. You were looking down on everything and it was as if you were floating, but you could see everything in all directions.”
Teachers and administrators also had the chance to test out the program before students embarked on the expeditions and answer questions about the various landmarks and destinations.
“Using a tablet, the teachers focused their students’ attention on specific details and created unique interactive learning experiences for their classes,” Director of Technology Jesse Lubinsky said. “Empowering our teachers and students to bring their own life experiences to share in classroom settings is a powerful opportunity we can provide through this technology. The current list of available Expeditions makes it a valuable resource in almost every imaginable subject area.”