SIDE NOTE: Google Cardboard is cheap ($6) because it is CARDBOARD. After a week of use in the JCHS Library MakerSpace my cardboard was falling to pieces, not to mention the inability to wipe greasy forehead marks off the cardboard. I "solved" this "problem" using decorative duct tape from our arts and crafts area and have been pleased with the results.
Just a few days ago I learned about Virtual Reality Goggles that are basically Google Cardboard without the cardboard. Of course I had to buy a pair and will most likely add one or two to our makerspace.
Starr Sackstein, a teacher at the World Journalism Preparatory School in Flushing, NY, was one of the the few lucky classes to be chosen to pilot a Google Expeditions Pioneer Program. She wrote detailed blog post for Education Week about using Google Expeditions with her students. Touted mostly as a cost effective alternative to field trips, Ms. Sackstein also shares other possible educational uses for Google Cardboard:
All of this sounds really great, but after the Pioneer Program ends how will Google offer schools the Google Expeditions "kit"? Will they give it away or offer something "affordable" for the average school? This remains to be seen.
- Science classes can now explore the world around them in 360 degree panoramas. Teachers can talk students through space and other points of interest to deepen understanding of classroom learning. From underwater, to high into the air, there are many options.
- Travel is also possible in expedition. So if we want students to see the world of the texts or history we are studying, they can walk through the places we speak of. Imagine being able to actually transport students to literary London during a class period and talk about the specific sites that Dickens and other English authors discuss.
- Historical events come to life as well as students can explore different aspects of the many wars throughout history.
- For journalism the possibilities are limitless. This technology will give reporters the opportunity to amp up their stories by bringing readers to the actual location they are writing about. The New York Times capitalized on this recently, giving away the cardboard viewer to experience one of their stories. There is an app associated with it, where readers are now viewers of news adding another sense to the learning experience.
I'm not quite willing to say yet that Google Cardboard will go the way of Google Glass. I would love to see our BioMed students explore its uses. Just last week Dr. Redmond Burke used Google Cardboard to virtual practice an extremely delicate heart surgery, ultimately saving a life.
I am also in love with Vrse, the New York Times virtual reality app that brings news stories to life. The applications for current event classes is obvious.
This is a technology I will keep my eye on.
Cross your fingers that my request to be part of the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program will come through this year! James Clemens High School is ready to run with this program!
*YouTube also offers 360 videos to be viewed with Google Cardboard.