Earlier this week, Google announced an expansion of Google Expeditions, its virtual reality (VR) program designed to bring VR technology to schools throughout the world. As it turns out, Expeditions is now coming to the United Kingdom. For the uninitiated, the concept behind this initiative is rather simple: Google Expeditions teams visit various schools and enables their students to experience the wonders of virtual reality technology at no cost. All of the necessary equipment and software is brought on site by Google's educational team. The technicians help teachers set up the VR experience before class and assist them in supervising students while they're visiting virtual worlds.
Speaking of which, the Expeditions program now offers more than 300 VR experiences which teachers can choose from. The basic idea is to use virtual reality technology in order to ennoble any given class, and not waste teachers' precious time. For example, if students are learning about Australia during a geography class, the Expeditions team will recommend an experience related to that continent. If they're in the process of learning about space, the program can send them to Mars. In the same vein, a class on UK history could be complemented by a virtual tour of Buckingham Palace. The UK curriculum of Google Expeditions was designed in collaboration with a digital education company TES and Twig, an award-winning firm which specializes in visual education. The program revolves around Expeditions, a VR app built for educational purposes. Each experience offered within the app consists of a virtual reality world complemented by descriptions and points of interests. Teachers can navigate their students through virtual space using a tablet.
The UK iteration of Google Expeditions is currently focusing on London, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Belfast, Cardiff, Birmingham, and Leeds. However, any British school can apply to participate. The UK division of Google noted that the program is limited in scope, so they won't be able to visit all schools which apply but urged everyone to register nonetheless. While the Google Expeditions UK tour has already started, applications will remain open for at least a couple more weeks. If you want to know more, check out the introduction video of the UK variant of Google Expeditions below.