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Google Virtual Reality – VR – Cardboard Crit

July 18, 2017

Google VR is something I have been thinking about using in my classroom for a few years now. Basically, they are some advanced Mattel View Masters. You place the goggles up to your eyes with your phone inside the frames, and are able to watch these specially designed 360 degree videos. You can walk around in the recorded video field and interact with various features. I have not experienced the technology first hand, but watching the videos, looking at the stills, and reading the reviews, it looks pretty interesting. Low cost and simple to use? Interesting…

Google has an app that teachers can utilize called Expeditions that allows you to take students to various locations and conduct virtual field trips. You can even make your own if you have the technology to do so. I watched a teacher from Georgia demonstrate a visit to Everest. The teacher narrates/mediates the field trip by pointing out key elements of the site via reading notes and adding arrows that help students map the site.

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Being a reader of the NYTimes, I have noticed an increase of VR offerings that utilize Google Cardboard. They even sent out batches of the goggles to subscribers to promote interest and educate readers on the technology. Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 1.17.24 PM.png


In terms of the weekly theme of Dialog and Soliliquy, I feel that if teachers and students can get a handle on the technology and create their own 360 degree VR expeditions, it would be an amazing way to show/share with students and learners from other parts of the country and world. Instead of just recording an oral history via voice recorder, a student could go on a walk with their interviewee and record the surroundings/neighborhood in order to highlight visually the story line. In terms of teaching geography and culture, this tool seems limitless. This kind of VR tech allows for a level of engagement and immersion that other forms of media lack.

The downside to this “low cost” technology is that your school needs to have one to one technology, specifically an iPod touch or smart phones to work with the VR viewer. You can have the students use tablets for 360 degree viewing, but there is no cardboard tech to supplement the larger devices. Thinking about bringing this into my classroom, we would only be able to use tablets since the district does not allow students onto the wifi with their personal devices and not everybody will have a smartphone with the proper specs. That is sort of a bummer, but I think that I could make use of the tablets and go from there.

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I am going to purchase a pair today and work towards incorporating them into my classroom curriculum. Excited!


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