Brewster Students Travel to Far Off Places with Google Expeditions
Students held red goggle-like headsets up to their faces as they turned every which way in their seats. They tilted their heads back, twisted around, and slowly looked down towards the floor, sometimes gasping or calling out to fellow classmates. While it may have looked a little funny to an outsider, students in the Multimedia STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) class were actually exploring the solar system from the comfort of their Brewster High School classroom.
The headsets are part of a Google Expeditions Virtual Reality (VR) kit that gives students an immersive experience as they explore remote locations. The images are controlled by a tablet, which teacher Peter LaMoreaux can use to show students points of interest, ask guided questions, and access teaching materials.
“Students have the opportunity to visit places that they would not be able to experience otherwise,” LaMoreaux said. “They’re generally very excited about it. When I transition to a new scene or experience, I’ve learned not to try to teach until the noise from the excitement dies down.”
The space expedition was a great example of his students’ absolute delight in the experience.
“Whoa, what was that?!”
“Quick, look over there!”
“That’s so cool!”
Those are just a few of the exclamations that could be heard as LaMoreaux transitioned to a new scene.
“Class experiences are much richer with a 3-D VR view,” LaMoreaux said.
With nearly 1,000 VR Expeditions and 100 Augmented Reality Expeditions, Google Expeditions will likely be a common supplementary tool in LaMoreaux’s Multimedia STEM course. Students taking the course create, observe, analyze, and document engaging STEM phenomena, combining hands-on science and technology in an engaging way.