Google Expeditions: Skokie Students Take Grand Field Trips Without Ever Leaving School

post by Hillel Torah | Dec 07, 2015

[Skokie Review]

Hillel Torah North Suburban Day School students recently experienced what many would consider field trips of a lifetime — only they never physically left their familiar classrooms in Skokie.

Simply by donning a viewing device, inside of which was a cell phone running just the right free app, they suddenly were transported. They experienced 360-degree panoramic views of underwater coral life in the Galapagos, remote caves well off the beaten track, gorillas inside the deep forest that is part of their habitat in Borneo.

The new Google Expeditions Pioneer Program is not the first virtual reality technology conceived with learning in mind; but what educators say is so enticing about it is the potential to transform learning at relatively little cost.

“This is the first piece of technology I’ve seen that has the real potential to bridge the technology divide,” said Beth Burke, coordinator of instructional technology at Hillel Torah.

That’s why Burke wanted the private school to be selected by Google to pilot the Expeditions program. Her persistence in signing up for the one-day teaching event ultimately paid off.

“When I saw the technology at an educational technology conference, I just fell in love with it,” said Burke. “I saw so much that could be done in the classroom with this.”

A Google technician came to the school early morning Nov. 24 to briefly train teachers; then for the next few hours…see more here.