Thursday, April 26, 2018

A Simple Review Of AR Expeditions from Google

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to work with the Google AR Expeditions program and it was simply awesome.

What Are The AR Expedtions?

At this point, many teachers are familiar with Google's VR Expeditions.  AR expeditions use a similar platform to bring AR experiences to the kids.  Using latest generation phones equipped with special cameras, kids can be led on an augmented reality journey into studying any number of the curated topics that Google provides.
*Not my classroom*

How Does AR Compare To VR When To Comes To Educational Expeditions? 

In many ways I think that I prefer the AR experience in a class setting.  VR can occasionally elicit some nausea from a few kids and there was none of that using their new platform.  While I felt generally more at ease about the kids' safety while not using a phone strapped to their faces, I do admit to feeling more anxious that they were going to harm the expensive smart phones while extended out on selfie sticks and walking around.  My hope is that Google will continue providing both for a more well-rounded experience.

What To Expect During The Pioneer AR Expeditions Program?

I work in the Portland, Oregon Metro area and was pleasantly surprised when I heard that Google was doing the pioneer program in our area.  It was relatively easy to get them to come out as soon as I could commit to pushing at least 350 kids through the experience in order to fill up the day with their associate.  The program required a scheduler from our building who was willing to setup rooms and work out a master list of teachers and times.  After that work was done, one more person was required to work as a second set of hands in one of 2 rooms alongside the regular classroom teachers.  It is notable that the Pioneer program does require classroom teachers to head up the lesson with minimal support in the way of teaching from the one Google Associate that came for the day.  In our experience, one person could easily fill both these rolls of scheduler and point of contact to help on the day of the activity.

What Did The Kids Think About The Experience?

As is usually the case with VR/AR technologies in the classroom, there was absolutely no nagging kids in terms of engagement.  All day long we heard the customary ooohhhhs and aaaahhhhhs of kids experiencing their content in a way that was new and exciting.  I can't wait to see this technology make it out of beta and see what the next generation of phones are capable of doing.

Interested In Checking Out The Pioneer Program?