Quest students experience one-of-a-kind field trip


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Quest Elementary students take virtual trips from their classrooms by using Google Cardboard virtual reality glasses. The “field trips” were part of a Google Expeditions day at the school. Photo by Danielle Kazoroski

Quest Elementary Students recently got to take some pretty out-of-this-world field trips — right from the comfort of their classrooms.

The Google Pioneer Expeditions project visited classrooms of third through sixth graders and took them somewhere they were learning about in class through the use of virtual reality headsets. Some students got to virtually visit Mexico while others made it all the way to Mars. Some stayed a little closer to home and visited the Florida Keys. 

“Technology, such as virtual reality, allows students instant access to a place without leaving the classroom,” said Jonathan Bolitho, a third grade teacher at Quest. 

“Students can now travel all over the world while learning about specific information related to the topic of study. Enhancing students learning through real life settings helps to connect the dots.”

The trips were made possible with Google Cardboard — a virtual reality viewer that connects with a smartphone application to deliver an immersive visual experience. The smartphone is actually attached to the device and images are viewed that way. The Cardboard device is made primarily from actual cardboard and Google reports that 2 million will be in circulation be the end of 2016.

In preparation for the Expeditions initiative, teachers received boxes that included a tablet for the instructor, Google Cardboard virtual reality glasses for students, and smartphones with the accompanying application. Curricula provided by organizations like the Planetary Society, American Museum of Natural History and the Wildlife Conservation Society are part of the mobile app that is essentially a collection of virtual reality images in panoramic format.

The free program is taking place at seven Brevard schools in the coming months. To learn more about the Google Pioneer Expeditions program, go to google.com/edu/expeditions