Posted by Andrew Cunningham, Software Engineer for Google Expeditions
Over the past two years we have seen how Google Expeditions can help teachers bring lessons to life and take students to places they would never otherwise be able to go. With a virtual reality viewer, students can explore everywhere from Mars to the Great Barrier Reef to the inside of Buckingham Palace, without ever leaving the classroom.
Just last week, science teacher Mrs. Scott took her class inside the human circulatory system using the power of virtual reality and Google Cardboard at Twickenham Prep School in South West London. Students explored the human heart, lungs and blood vessels to watch oxygen-rich blood being distributed throughout the body. For Mrs. Scott, the real excitement has been seeing her students embrace science in a way they never had before.
Twickenham Preparatory School, South West London
“It is a fantastic teaching tool that engaged the children from the start, keeping their attention. I was then able to tell them extra information as we explored together.” Mrs. Scott said.
Starting today, we’re opening up our Google Expeditions Pioneer Programme to more schools across the UK. Working with the Google Arts and Culture team, we’ve connected with content partners across the world to create a wide range of new and exciting Expeditions, such as the new Natural History exhibit that brings you face-to-face with dinosaurs. In order for teachers to seamlessly include these Expeditions in their lessons, we’ve partnered up with Twig and TES to tailor this content to the UK curriculum with easy-to-use lesson plans.
An extinct world brought back to life through the "Meet the Dinosaurs" Google Expedition
Over the next school year (2016/17), we’ll be bringing “kits” containing everything a teacher needs to run a virtual school trip, including Google’s Cardboard viewers. Once they have the kit, a teacher is able to send synchronised three-dimensional 360° panoramas to each student’s Cardboard viewer directly from their tablet, pointing out areas of interest in real time and taking them on a journey of discovery.
In addition, the Expeditions app is now available on iOS. More teachers, including those who use iPads, will be able to share Expeditions with their students by using full-screen mode on the devices in place of a VR viewer.
If you want the Pioneer Programme to come and visit your school now is the time to sign up, spaces are limited! With over 200 Expeditions available, we’re excited for students in the UK to experience these virtual field trips.
Next week marks the grand opening of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). A museum 100 years in the making, the NMAAHC is much more than just a collection of artifacts. Within its walls, visitors will take part in an immersive journey into the important contributions of African Americans in the United States. It’s a mosaic of stories — stories from our history that are core to who we are as a nation. And we’re proud to help bring these stories to life with a first-of-its-kind 3D interactive exhibit and a $1 million grant from Google.org, part of our ongoing work on racial and social justice issues.
A new way to explore artifacts A few years ago, Dr. Lonnie Bunch, the NMAAHC’s director, came to Google’s headquarters and shared his vision to make the museum the most technologically advanced in the world. I immediately knew I wanted to be involved, and pulled together people from across the company: designers who focus on user interaction, members of the Cultural Institute, engineers who work on everything from Google Maps to YouTube, and members of the Black Googler Network. For the past year, we’ve been working to deliver on Dr. Bunch’s vision.
Our team quickly learned that museums are often only able to showcase a fraction of their content and archives to visitors. So we asked ourselves: what technology do we have at Google that could help enrich the museum experience? We worked closely with the museum to build an interactive exhibit to house artifacts from decades of African American history and let visitors explore and learn about them. With 3D scanning, 360 video, multiple screens and other technologies, visitors can see artifacts like a powder horn or handmade dish from all angles by rotating them with a mobile device. The interactive exhibit will open in spring 2017.
Travis McPhail in front of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on one of many site visits to the museum in Washington, DC
Taking an Expedition through African American history In addition to the interactive exhibit, we’re also launching two new Google Expeditions that take students on a digital journey through African American history. Earlier this year, we formed the African American Expeditions Council — a group of top minds in Black culture, academia and curation — to help develop Expeditions that tell the story of Africans in America. The Google Cultural Institute has also worked to preserve and share important artworks, artifacts and archives from African American history. With participation from the National Park Service, the Expeditions and Cultural Institute teams captured images of the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, which commemorates the events, people and route of the 1965 Voting Rights March. A second Expedition, from the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, takes you around Dr. King's childhood home and the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he preached.
Screenshot from the new Google Expedition highlighting the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, which commemorates the events, people and route of the 1965 Voting Rights March
Discovering and sharing new stories At the end of this week, we're celebrating the opening of the NMAAHC during one of the most important weeks for African Americans in D.C., the week of the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference (ALC). On Friday night of ALC, we’ll salute NMAAHC Founding Director, Dr. Bunch, and the Congressional Black Caucus. The iconic Congressman John Lewis, an Honorary Member of our African American Expeditions Council, will be on hand to talk about the impact of Expeditions in telling the story that the NMAAHC will bring to life in so many important ways.
Day to day, I work on Google Maps, where we help people around the world find and discover new places. Working on this exhibit has given me a chance to help people discover something else — the ways African American history is vitally intertwined with our history as a nation. I’m proud of the role Google has played a role in taking people on that journey.
Many millions of years ago, dinosaurs ruled the Earth and sea dragons were not just Hollywood creations, but fearsome predators that stalked the oceans. It’s a world that vanished long ago, but one that continues to fascinate those seeking to understand the origins of life on our planet.
Starting today, anyone, anywhere can explore this world on Google Arts & Culture. We’ve partnered with 50+ of the world’s leading natural history institutions to bring this lost world to life again online. More than 150 interactive stories from experts, 300,000 new photos and videos, and more than 30 virtual tours await you... With just a few clicks, you can come face to face with a 180 million year old giant, as virtual reality raises the colossal sea dragon from extinction. Discovered in Dorset in the U.K. and residing at London’s Natural History Museum. The Rhomaleosaurus — to give it its formal name — can now be explored in 360 degrees. We also used VR to bring the Giraffatitan back to life in Berlin’s natural history museum. Standing at 13 meters (42 feet), it’s one of the tallest dinosaurs that ever lived. It was twice as tall as today’s giraffes, and could easily put its head through a fourth floor window. We wanted to give you a glimpse of how these colossal creatures actually looked. So we worked with ecologists, paleontologists and biologists to put virtual skin and flesh on the preserved skeletons. From the size of the eye to the position of the snout and the bend of the neck, the texture and creases of the skin were all painstakingly recreated, and verified by a team of scientists. For the best experience, use a viewer like Google Cardboard to look the beast in the eye.
In addition to the VR experiences, this global exhibition of natural history has plenty more for experts and armchair explorers alike:
Turn back time by 4.6 billion years with the help of the Natural History Museum by scrolling through the history of life from the origins of the solar system, through the rise and the fall of prehistoric worlds.
See the giant sloth jaw that led Darwin to his groundbreaking theory of natural selection.
With Street View, walk around dinosaurs in New York, explore 30+ natural history museums from to Australia to Russia and even go underwater with turtles in Brazil.
Join YouTube’s Vsauce2 to discover the story of Martha, the last passenger pigeon.
The free collection opens today at g.co/naturalhistory and through the Google Arts & Culture mobile app on iOS and Android. And if you’re a teacher, there are more than 20 new Google Expeditions waiting for you and your classroom to discover. We hope you enjoy this journey through the history of nature as much as we do.
Posted by Sal Puglisi, Emergency Management Teacher
“Where were you on 9/11?” has become the question of my generation. I can proudly answer by saying I was responding to the calls for help as an emergency medical technician in New York City. When my partner and I pulled up to the World Trade Center site, we looked up to see the second plane crash into the South Tower.
But for future generations, the memories of Sept. 11 will primarily be secondhand stories. That’s why the statement “Never Forget” has become central to my career.
In 2007, with the transition of a new teaching career, I entered my first classroom as a special education teacher in a Bronx middle school. I was standing just a few miles from Ground Zero on the 6th anniversary of 9/11 and realized this generation of students didn't really understand what transpired on that day. From that anniversary forward, I have made it my mission to teach about the events of that day, tell my personal story to students, and share information about the four coworkers I lost that day.
In 2011, my personal campaign of “Never Forget” came to life with the opening of the 9/11 Memorial, and later, the opening of the 9/11 Museum in 2014. Students could now experience the multitude of emotions and artifacts firsthand.
Now, on the 15th anniversary of 9/11, the 9/11 Memorial Museum has partnered with Google Expeditions to allow students and adults from around the world the opportunity to experience the Museum and its artifacts in an immersive, virtual journey. The moment I put on the virtual reality viewer, I was in awe. I really felt like I was standing in the 9/11 Memorial Museum. As you navigate the space in virtual reality, nothing gets lost. All the feeling and emotions you would feel standing in the large spaces and exhibitions are translated to scale. As a teacher, I really found the program easy to use. The format outlines discussion questions grouped as beginner, intermediate, and expert. As an educator, I know students will want to look around and may get off task, but the program has a great way of redirecting students with arrows that bring them back to the lesson objective. There are several resources available for teachers on the Museum’s website that help scaffold pre and post lessons and highlight potential cross-content experiences for students.
As a first responder and survivor of 9/11, Google Expeditions has done a wonderful job of bringing the 9/11 Memorial Museum to life, and in doing so has allowed future generations to do what I hope, to “Never Forget.”
Posted by Dina Kachintseva, Classroom Software Engineer and Felix Wang, User Experience Designer
As any teacher would tell you, the classroom isn’t the only place where learning happens — it’s just the tip of the iceberg. From parents who help students with homework, to extracurriculars, field trips and more, there are so many ways students can learn beyond the walls of the classroom. This is why today we’re announcing new features to help teachers inspire learning for students, regardless of place or time.
Parents and guardians stay informed with Google Classroom email summaries
Parent participation has a major impact on student learning. Today, we’re launching a new feature in Google Classroom that will automatically share summaries of student work with parents. Once invited by a teacher, parents and guardians can receive automated daily or weekly email summaries of student work and class announcements, making it easier to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the classroom.
“I enjoy helping my children prepare for assignments that they have coming up – and the earlier I know about them, the better,” says Michelle Barrette, a mother of five Medfield, Massachusetts students and pilot user of the new Classroom feature. “This way I can prevent them from missing deadlines and see if they need help brainstorming topics or solutions.”
Annotations help students color outside the lines — and the classroom
When teachers want to help students understand complex math or science concepts, visuals — like drawings on a whiteboard — can help. But how does this work when students and teachers aren’t in the classroom together? Today, we’re announcing the ability to annotate documents in the Google Classroom mobile app.
Using annotations, students can complete assignments, sketch out math problems or even create visuals of creative ideas directly on their devices. This gives students a portable classroom whiteboard on which they can easily draw and sketch. Now, thinking through complex homework challenges from home, school or on the bus is even easier. Teachers can use annotations to quickly grade assignments by writing directly on the student’s work, or highlighting the most important passages in a text or novel. Anne Farrahar, an English teacher in the Medfield Public Schools district, explains how her lessons benefitted from her high school students annotating a critique of Shakespeare’s "The Merchant of Venice." “They highlighted all the ideas they thought were convincing arguments in one color, and all the ideas they disagreed with in another color,” says Farrahar. “This gave me the chance to assess students' individual understanding and, based on their responses, gather ideas for future lessons.”
More Expeditions thousands of miles away or inside the human body
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit the White House Kitchen Garden or what it would be like to travel inside the human body? Today we’re announcing new Expeditions that bring students far beyond the usual places they can travel. With these adventures, like a visit to Bhutan or an exploration of the human vascular systems, teachers are able to deeply immerse students in lessons, creating vivid and memorable learning experiences.
In addition, the Expeditions app is coming soon to iOS. More teachers, including those who use iPads, will be able to share Expeditions with their students by using full-screen mode on the devices in place of a VR viewer. With over 200 Expeditions available, we’re excited for them to experience these virtual field trips on more devices.
More Google for Education features for busy teachers and curious minds
In celebration of the new school year, we’re excited to share more new tools for teachers and students to break down traditional barriers within the classroom:
A more organized Classroom. To make Classroom even easier to use, teachers can organize the class stream by adding topics to posts, and teachers and students can filter the stream for specific topics. Plus, users can now preview documents, PDFs, images and videos, all without leaving Classroom.
Share your screens wirelessly at school. With the latest Chrome update, Cast for Education is now available to all teachers and students. This free Chrome app carries video and audio across complex school networks and has built-in controls for teachers — no new hardware required. Look out for updates including support for secondary domains coming soon.
Google Forms get an upgrade with images. In Forms, teachers can now add images to questions or as multiple choice answers. This is perfect for subjects like math when students need to show their understanding of diagrams and graphs.
Inbox by Gmail for the classroom. Inbox by Gmail is rolling out to Google for Education users. Coming soon, email notifications from Classroom will be intelligently grouped in Inbox, making it easy for teachers and students to find important updates and highlights.
Whether students are at home or in the classroom, teachers can continue to inspire and support their curiosity with Expeditions, Classroom, Apps and Chromebooks. Stay tuned this week on Google+ and Twitter for more details on these exciting new tools.
Posted by Jonathan Rochelle, Director of Product Management, Google for Education and Cyrus Mistry, Lead Product Manager, Devices and Content, Google for Education
Editor's note: This week our Google for Education team will be joining thousands of educators at the annual ISTE conference. Follow along here and on Twitter for the latest news and updates.
Teachers are great communicators, collaborators, creators and critical thinkers. It takes a teacher to empower students with these skills and create the leaders of our future. As technology becomes an increasingly integral component of our classrooms, the role of teachers becomes even more important.
Today at ISTE, we’re announcing four more ways for these everyday heroes to engage their classes and empower their students using Google tools. Look out for a deeper dive on each of these launches on the blog throughout this week.
Bring curriculum to life: introducing the Expeditions app Since we launched the beta Expeditions Pioneer Program in September of 2015, more than one million students across 11 countries have taken one of our virtual reality trips. Today, we’re making Expeditions available to everyone. To get started, all teachers need to do is download the Expeditions app onto a set of devices. With more than 200 Expeditions to choose from, students can journey far and wide, learning from immersive new experiences. Our content offering has also grown and now includes Expeditions made by established educational content providers including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Pearson is beginning work on Expeditions content as well. The app is available today for Android and will be available for iPhones and iPads soon.
While Expeditions can be used with many of the devices schools or students already have — either smartphones with Google Cardboard or tablets in 2D full screen mode — Best Buy Education will also be making Expeditions kits available for schools to purchase. These kits will contain everything teachers need to bring their classes on amazing Expeditions: a tablet, virtual reality viewers and a router to connect them all. Kits are available for pre-order and will ship in time for back-to-school. We’ll also publish clear specs for partners interested in working with us to create their own kits.
Empower student-driven classrooms: Google Cast for Education Collaboration is key to student success, but in most classrooms today the biggest screen in the room is out of reach for students. If students want to share their screens with the class, they have to physically connect their devices to the classroom projector. When teachers present, they’re tied to the projector at the front of the room. Educators are eager to overcome this barrier, so much so that wireless screen sharing for schools was one of the top features requested by teachers in 2015.
Today we’re announcing Google Cast for Education, a free Chrome app that allows students and teachers to share their screens wirelessly from everywhere in the classroom. Cast for Education carries video and audio across complex school networks, has built-in controls for teachers and works with Google Classroom so it’s easy to invite your students. And because the app runs on the teacher’s existing computer, it doesn’t require new hardware. Teachers run the Cast for Education app, and students can share their screens with the existing Cast feature in Chrome. Check out the Cast for Education video.
Teacher view (click to see larger)
Student view (click to see larger)
Accelerate the feedback loop: Quizzes in Google Forms Getting feedback early helps students learn and teachers teach. Starting today, Quizzes in Google Forms will allow teachers to auto-grade multiple choice and checkbox questions — so teachers can spend less time grading and more time teaching.
Teachers can also add review materials in the form of explanations, supplemental websites or review videos — so students can get quick, actionable feedback. Plus, teachers can get instant feedback on student progress, so they know which lessons need more explanation and what to teach next. We’ve also added a common request from educators to disallow students from sending themselves a copy of their responses.
Ignite student creativity: creative apps on Chromebooks We’re on a mission to discover Chromebook tools that foster skills of the future, including problem-solving, digital literacy, leadership and creativity. We listened to teachers in Chromebook classrooms and collaborated with EdTechTeacher, and we’re excited to announce a collection of creative apps on Chromebooks that schools can purchase as a bundle.
Explain Everything, Soundtrap and WeVideo are creative apps that help students demonstrate their understanding of curriculum through their own unique voice. We’ve worked closely with our partners to offer these apps to schools at a special price when all three apps are purchased together. They may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or on their own, and they’re available as an annual subscription per license from Chromebook resellers in the US. Contact your school’s reseller to learn more.
Students use creative apps at Muller Road Middle School in South Carolina (watch video here)
Look out for a deeper dive on each of these product updates on the blog throughout this week. If you’re at ISTE in Denver, visit us at booth #2511 in the expo hall to demo these tools. And check out our sessions — taking place in room #103 — where educators and Googlers will be giving short presentations throughout the conference.
Posted by David Quaid, Software Engineer (and space enthusiast)
55 years ago today President John F. Kennedy said:
“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”
Sure enough, we met that goal in 1969 when the Apollo 11 crew landed on the moon, just a few months before the decade ended.
Space travel still thrills us, even now that we’re several decades beyond watching astronauts on black-and-white TVs. Earlier this year, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko returned from a year-long mission on the International Space Station, studying the impact of extended space voyages on astronauts’ bodies and minds. We watched Kelly juggle fruit in weightlessness and asked him questions about space travel during a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session.
Today’s teachers and students are fortunate in that we can share the space experience a bit more closely with our astronauts. Kids everywhere, and plenty of grownups, can get a better sense of what it must be like to live in weightlessness, primarily eat only vacuum-packed meals, and look out at the stars and Planet Earth every day. This is the idea behind our newest Expedition, created with NASA, which brings the International Space Station right into the classroom.
A view of the Expedition from the teacher's tablet
The new tour gives teachers and kids a view into the crew’s living quarters and the challenges they have doing everyday things. For example, teachers and students can see how space station residents use bungee cords to hold down plates and silverware so they don’t float away mid-bite, and how they anchor themselves to the tables or walls with special footholds so they don’t drift off either. In the Expedition, students can also see where scientists grow red lettuce and other crops. This enables NASA to study how vegetables grow in space — which will help provide nutritious and delicious food for future astronauts who will stay in space for longer and longer missions -- as much as three years for a roundtrip to Mars!
To celebrate the anniversary of President Kennedy’s historic call to action, this week we’re introducing the new Expedition to some of the schools taking part in the Expeditions Pioneer program. We’re also showing off the tour at special screenings of the new awe-inspiring IMAX® 3D film, “A Beautiful Planet,” produced and directed by celebrated filmmaker Toni Myers and narrated by Jennifer Lawrence, the star of The Hunger Games films, and featuring breathtaking images of Earth, shot by astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
“A Beautiful Planet” and the Expeditions tour make a perfect double-feature: stunning views of Earth and the stars from outside the space station, and a view into daily life of astronauts from inside. Teaching the wonders of space is a time-honored way to encourage students to explore their world. Seeing the International Space Station up close can inspire the next generation of astronauts, scientists, or simply lovers of discovery, and bring the world of space exploration to everyone.
Posted by Cyrus Mistry and Ope Bukola, Product Managers, Google for Education
Editor's note: We’re writing to you today from Google I/O, our annual conference for developers. Over 7,000 developers gathered for the three day event at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California —right down the street from Google. If you missed the live-stream this week, don't worry; we've got four highlights so far for education below.
Even more apps for Chromebooks Earlier today we announced that Android apps are coming to Chromebooks, which means teachers and students will have access to more content on their Chromebooks, including a large amount of offline and touch-optimized apps. From Google’s Admin console, administrators will be able to deploy Android apps such as Skype, LightSail, Open eBooks, Office & Explain Everything to students. This feature will be available to administrators during the 2016/17 school year for use on supported Chromebooks. Learn more, including when you can preview some of the apps, in the blog post.
More than one million students have gone on an Expedition When we look back on our favorite memories from school, many of us think of field trips. Last May, we introduced the Expeditions Pioneer Program, which lets teachers take their students on virtual reality trips to over 200 places using Cardboard. This year at I/O, we announced that over one million students from more than 11 countries have taken an Expedition through the Pioneer Program, to places like Buckingham Palace, the polar bear capital of the world—and in seventh grader Lance Teeselink’s case—Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.
Lance, aspiring architect, takes an Expedition to the tallest building in the world with his seventh grade class
Our team is hard at work to make Expeditions more widely available. Stay tuned to our blog for the latest information. And if you’re ready to bring your class on their first Expedition, sign up for the beta here. Stronger integrations between Classroom and other apps
Teachers use Classroom as mission control for their classes, launching assignments & discussions across subjects and topics. We announced on Wednesday that we added new coursework integrations to the Classroom API, which lets reporting systems like gradebooks and student information systems sync assignments and grades from Classroom, so that teachers don’t need to manually transfer the data. It also allows learning tools to create assignments, turn in work, and send back grades to Classroom. See how developers like Tynker, GeoGebra, and OpenEd are already using coursework in the Classroom API to strengthen their integrations.
Expanding coding resources to younger students On Monday, at I/O Youth (our third annual conference for Bay Area students and teachers) we announced a new collaboration with Scratch, MIT’s programming language and community for children. The new partnership will enable developers to design creative coding and learning experiences for kids. We took the first step this week, releasing an early developer preview of Scratch Blocks code. We hope that developers will use Scratch Blocks to create consistent, high-quality programming experiences for kids everywhere.
Keep exploring Watch the live stream or recordings of this year’s events in full on the Google I/O website. And for more behind-the-scenes looks at Google, from self-driving cars to Project Loon, check out Nat & Lo’s YouTube channel.
Editor's note: Soledad O’Brien is a broadcast journalist and founder of Starfish Media Group. She is also CEO of the Starfish Foundation, which provides financial assistance and mentoring to help kids go to college. Recently, the Starfish Foundation launched virtual career tours using Google Expeditions, about which O’Brien joins us to talk about today. To become part of the Expeditions Pioneer beta program, sign up via this form. -Ed.
Kids dream about what they want to be when they grow up, but these dreams are often limited—built around the few professional people they know. What if children don’t know a veterinarian, an airplane pilot, a paleontologist, or someone in dozens of other careers? What if they lack access to internships or mentors? Can they ever dream big? I know from watching my own kids visit me at work, and from the scholars I mentor, that exposure to all kinds of professionals is the key to inspiring young people. When I first found out about Expeditions, I saw its potential for broadening the horizons of the student scholars we help at Starfish Foundation. I envisioned creating virtual reality Expeditions that let kids step into someone’s work day, simply by using phones and Google Cardboard viewers. So that’s what we did.
Soledad O'Brien with scholars from the Starfish Foundation.
Working with the Google Expeditions team, we created virtual reality tours that show kids the ins and out of careers they might not ever learn about otherwise. From flying an airplane to testing fossil samples, kids can see with their own eyes exactly what people do in many different scenarios. They can watch Carolyn Brown, director of surgery for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, perform a procedure on a cat. Or join Mark Norell, a paleontology professor with the American Museum of Natural History, as he examines a velociraptor specimen up close. And today, schools participating in the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program and Expeditions beta will be able to go on an Expedition of the Google Mountain View campus to see what it’s like to work at Google.
A career Expedition on American Airlines Pilot, Pam Torell. The view is from the cockpit of one of her scheduled flights.
These Expeditions reveal what professionals like about their jobs, what they studied in school, and how they apply their knowledge to their work. Regular field trips are logistically challenging, and they don’t usually focus on careers. But with Expeditions, teachers can share an experience with students right in the classroom. You can’t fit 30 students in the cockpit of a plane, but you can get a virtual reality tour of one using Expeditions. And today, on “Take Your Kids to Work Day,” there’s no better time to get creative about exposing students to different types of jobs and workplace environments.
Children won’t know what jobs are possible if they don’t know the careers exist. Rather than just telling them, teachers can actually show them. With these career Expeditions, students can travel outside the classroom walls and be exposed to more ideas, places and opportunities than ever before.
Posted by Jennifer Holland, Program Manager, Education
Great teachers posses a special sort of magic - they can transport the most distant places right into the room while revealing hidden secrets in the most local of things. For many of us, nobody has conjured more of this magic than the great Sir David Attenborough. Today we are bringing Australia's Great Barrier Reef into classrooms around the world using Google Expeditions in an experience designed and produced by Sir David Attenborough and Alchemy VR. With guidance from the world-famous broadcaster and naturalist, students at Barclay Primary in London were able to dive deep into the warm tropical waters to discover what life as a clown fish looks like (colorful!) and how it feels to be surrounded by a school of young snapper fish. As Sir. David Attenborough says:
“The Great Barrier Reef is a wonder of the natural world and I’ve been fantastically privileged to visit twice, most recently for my BBC1 TV series Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough. Through virtual reality, I’m lucky enough to be able to share my experiences with audiences of all ages to allow them to explore and learn about these diverse ecosystems in a more immersive way.”
Over 500,000 students around the world have already taken a virtual trip through the Expeditions Pioneer Program since it began this past September. When we ask what locations students would like to visit, we get lots of far-flung suggestions - outer space! the bottom of the sea! the Pyramids! But all over the world we’ve consistently got one special request - Buckingham Palace! Today, thanks to the Royal Collection Trust, we are able to make that request a reality and are releasing an Expedition of Buckingham Palace so schools all over the world can virtually visit the Palace and learn about its historical significance. The Palace has also worked to produce a YouTube 360 video, so that anyone with a smartphone can be taken on their own private tour with the Paintings Curator for Buckingham Palace.
Fancy going on your own expedition? We’re happy to share the next locations of the Expeditions Pioneer Program on our website and we’ll be continuing to add more cities and countries throughout the spring. Today, we’re also announcing a beta version of the Google Expeditions app for select schools and educators that sign up to participate. You’ll be able to download the app to your own Android phones and tablets, use it in class, and provide us feedback about what features and places you would like in the future. For more information about the beta, you can sign up here.