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Google’s Expeditions Could Transform How Children Learn About The World

Google announced the Expeditions Pioneer Program, a virtual tour system designed with the help of teachers. Expeditions is a series of 360-degree images and video content, curated by teachers, to be used in guided school lessons.  

Google said there are over 100 Expeditions prepared for the pilot program that cover a range of topics. The company said there are museum tours from partners such as the American Museum of Natural History and a trip to outer space from the Planetary Society. David Attenborough is also contributing content for the program, along with many other unnamed partners.

Google said Expeditions is controlled by an Android app that runs on a tablet, which grants teachers the ability to guide the experience. Students take in the experience using Google’s Cardboard viewers, and a speaker system is used to provide ambient noises to the classroom. The system also includes a router that hosts its own local Wi-Fi connection to allow for schools without Wi-Fi Internet to use Expeditions in the classroom.

Google is sending what it calls “Expedition teams” to schools around the world who participate in the pilot program. These teams will deliver a full Expeditions kit, including the tablet, Cardboard viewers for each student, the speaker, router, and a carrying case to store it all in, and show the teacher how to use the system. Google said the package will come at no charge to the schools involved in the Expeditions Pioneer Program.

Google is in the process of visiting schools in the United State, Canada and Sweden, but it said other countries will be added later in the year. There is a signup page for teachers who would like to take part in the Expeditions program. The company is only approving educational professionals to participate.

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Kevin Carbotte is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews of graphics cards and virtual reality hardware.