Google CEO Sundar Pichai made the announcement in his first visit to Britain since becoming chief.
Since Google launched their educational Expeditions Pioneer Program, millions of students from around the world have already taken VR trips in the classroom. The tech giant opened up their VR program to teachers everywhere this past Summer and have now announced plans to bring VR to one million UK school children.
The announcement was made by Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, as part of his first visit to the UK since becoming CEO. The Expeditions program makes use of Google Cardboard viewers to take students on guided tours of a variety of locations in VR, many places not normally accessible to students and teachers, especially in under privileged school districts. Students can explore everywhere from Mars to the Great Barrier Reef to the inside of Buckingham Palace, without ever leaving the classroom.
Once a teacher has a Google Expeditions kit, they are 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.
The Expeditions app is also now available on iOS, which means 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.
The Google Expeditions team will be visiting school children in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Newcastle and Inverness in the next couple of months, providing headsets to children who may never get the opportunity to experience it themselves.
“Virtual reality can spark students’ imagination and help them learn about topics like how blood flows through the human body or the impact climate change is having on the Great Barrier Reef, in an engaging and immersive way,” Pichai said. “We’ve already received feedback from thousands of teachers in the UK and they believe that Expeditions can improve literacy and writing skills, and help create excitement to complement traditional teaching methods.”