Carson City students got the opportunity to travel the world Tuesday.
Second to fifth grade students from Bordewich-Bray and Fremont Elementary were chosen to beta test a new learning program called Google Expedition Pioneer Program. The program provided technology that allowed the students to travel the world using individual virtual reality viewers and the teachers had tablet that allowed them to choose from more than 200 possible expeditions and guide the students through each. Expeditions included the pyramids in Egypt, swimming with sharks and the Great Wall of China.
“The key is to provide virtual field trips to allow the students to see places that they probably wouldn’t get to see in real life,” said LeAnn Morris, Technology Integration Specialist for the district.
The students spent about 20 minutes getting to explore the different regions of the world.
Bordewich-Bray math coach Rachel Croft was responsible for bringing the program to Carson. After a Google Summit the district hosted earlier in the year, she applied for the program to come so the students could experience the technology.
“I thought this was a great opportunity and I knew it was free and I am always looking for new opportunities for our students,” Croft said.
The technology also enhances the student learning, by bringing the lessons they learn to life. Croft said that for example, her students have been reading a book on Mt. Everest, so she’s taking them there for their virtual field trip.
“You can choose which expedition fits with your curriculum,” Croft said. “These activities build excitement and give them something to connect their learning because reading in a text is one thing but getting to see a visual just gives them a new experience.”
For the teachers, there were also questions and fun facts that went along with each expedition to continue to further learning and discussion for the students.
Many of the students loved the experience, with “wow” and “that’s cool” echoing throughout the classrooms. Because the district was selected as a part of the beta stage, they can apply for the second program to bring the Google Expeditions to all of the Carson elementary schools.
“This just helps the teachers try to bring lots of things to the classroom to make learning relevant and relatable (to real life),” Morris said. “So with the teachers, it is about the learning not the tool.”
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