Digital Learning Consultant
I had the privilege of spending a morning at a local elementary school with Learning Design Coach, Frank Slabaugh and fellow Digital Learning Consultant, Amber Bridge. We were invited in to Mrs. Bell's 2nd grade class to share a virtual field trip to United States Monuments with Google Expeditions.
mTo understand this exciting morning - I need to explain a bit about Google Expeditions. Grant Wood Area Education Agency recently purchased a Google Expeditions Kit that includes 30 cell phones, 30 view finders, a router and a teacher notepad. This is all housed in a large moveable case ready to be wheeled into classrooms across southeastern Iowa. But, that is only the hardware - the true power is the Expedition app preloaded on these phones. This app (Android and iOS friendly) offers the ability to be the guide or a follower for hundreds of expeditions, or virtual field trips. As the guide you see all - the whole panoramic image, the tour guide spots including details and bits of history and you get to take your students along with you by pausing the expedition or adding a arrow to focus their attention. So, you can share the wonder of the monuments of Washington D.C. including the top of the Washington Monument or swim among exotic fish around the world. You can also turn them loose and allow the students to explore around the exhibit on their own.
That all sounds rather academic - after all what is so exciting about a virtual field trip? We can see a movie of Washington DC or Mount Rushmore any time on the internet anytime. But, that is not how it felt in Mrs. Bell's classroom this crisp, fall morning. Instead, the students were VERY excited and completely engaged! Their expeditions began with Mr. Slabaugh setting a few ground rules for the experience, as any good tour guide would. And then, as they picked up their viewmasters - the 'magic' happened. Not only did the world appear on their screens, but they could interact with it. As their heads moved up and down and they twisted and turned in their seats, their views changed as if they were standing beside the Statue of Liberty and taking in all of her glory. They were really peering out of those tiny windows at the top of the Washington Monument or wandering around the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with the other tourists. Google Expeditions took them to the actual site and offered them the opportunity to experience a completely different view of their world.
Take a moment to see the excitement and hear first hand from 2nd graders and check out this video. Then contact your Digital Learning Consultant to schedule a Google Expedition in your school district!
Beth Swantz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Digital Learning Consultant
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