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Explore Play and Profession

by Natalie Hayes

Pioneer Press

Article excerpt

Park View students take virtual field trip with Google Expeditions

A virtual education program being tested by Google transported students at Park View School in Morton Grove to a Syrian refugee camp, China’s Great Wall and the tallest peaks of Mount Everest—all without leaving the classroom.

Our take

Can VR Pass the Absurdity Test?

It’s not for sale—yet—but Google is testing its Google Expeditions Pioneer Program with students and, so far, the response has been very positive. One obvious use of the technology, and the focus of these pilots, is for virtual field trips that let students experience the wonders of the world in lifelike realism. But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. How might virtual reality (VR) be used in your school system in the future?

VR may have a significant role to play in the classroom at all levels. Consider, for example, how VR might be used to provide future doctors, and others, near real-world experiences in their chosen professions. Aside from the “cool factor” that this technology definitely holds, there may be a wide range of practical applications in the classroom. It’s important, though, that any of these applications pass the absurdity test.