Bringing the Outside World into the Classroom
Augmented Reality (AR) in the classroom allows teachers and students to view 3D objects from around the world that they would normally not have access to with the exception of seeing them in a textbook or online. Most content areas cannot take students on trips around the world. Through Google Expeditions AR, teachers and students can have better access to a variety of content without leaving the classroom. Google Expeditions AR allows students to make a connection with the content they are learning. With the use of augmented reality, teachers have an opportunity to bring the world into their classrooms and help deepen that connection for their students.
Google traveled to Delsea Middle School, located in Franklinville, NJ about an hour outside of Philadelphia, to allow students and staff to participate in the Google Expeditions AR Pilot Program. More than 30 teachers dedicated their time to teaching mini-lessons to over 400 students using augmented reality. Students were eager as they entered each room wondering what they would be doing with smartphones and selfie sticks. The “oohs, ahs, and OMGs” filled the room as the expeditions began, and students excitedly looked at planet’s, ecosystems beneath the sea, hurricanes, tornadoes, and ancient Roman artifacts, just to name a few. The students looked at the objects from every angle and were even able to go inside some of the objects, like the heart.
The students feedback about the expeditions was great:
“I liked that you could go into the planets.”
“The detail was amazing, and we could see what things actually looked like”
“I learned more about the circulatory system and paid attention more because I could do it by myself; it was a cool way of looking at the circulatory system and how it was done.”
“I liked being able to see and interact with what I’m learning about”
Our students also had some suggestions on how Google could improve their expeditions:
“If we could make the heart pump and other objects move”
“Have the planets rotate around the sun”
“Add sound effects”
The biggest take away for our teachers was seeing how much interacting with the content impacted students. They felt that giving students a new way to connect with their learning could really change the way students understand and even feel about the topics they teach.
“I was able to explore the seven continents and take a virtual trip to each continent in a “3D” model. I like the augmentation of the images. It gave me a closer look at the continents. In addition, it seemed my students were more engaged in directing and taking control of the technology tool at hand. “
“Dinosaur expedition – my students wanted to see skeletons instead of a “hollow” inside. Also, include dinosaurs habitats. Why did they die? Maybe incorporate an asteroid hitting earth into the expedition.”
Through Google Expeditions AR, students and staff at Delsea Middle School were able to spend a day outside of the classroom making connections to learning without ever physically leaving the building. The district has been 1:1 using the G Suite for Education platform and Chromebooks for over five years, and this opportunity gave our staff another way to challenge themselves and their students with new technologies to extend learning beyond the classroom.
Lakishia Powell is the Educational Technology Coach for the Delsea Regional School District. She has been in education for 20 years and is a Google Level 1 Educator. She provides in-class support for students and teachers integrating technology, provides professional development to teachers and administration inside and outside of her district, and has presented at a variety of tech conferences in her area. She can be found on Twitter @mslkshpwll.