Since officially launching back in September, more than 500,000 students have taken virtual reality field trips through the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program, according to Google.
Google Expeditions brings VR and AR experiences directly into partner classrooms and allows students to virtually travel the world in Google Cardboard. Until recently the program involved Google representatives physically bringing the tech into the chosen institutions. However, Google will now be allowing select schools and educators to download a beta app for the service directly onto an Android smartphone. These early-adopters will be able to take advantage of the steadily growing catalog of Expedition experiences at will and provide the company with feedback on the app’s performance.
Two new expeditions are also coming. The first transports students inside Buckingham Palace, and the second brings them on a virtual journey through the Great Barrier Reef produced by the famed Marine Biologist David Attenborough in conjunction with Alchemy VR.
The intersection of VR and education is one of the most exciting areas of growth potential for this young industry and other companies, such as Curiscope, are taking a similar approach. Now that one of the biggest players in the space is throwing its considerable muscle behind backing immersive and transformative educational experiences, there’s no telling how expansive and powerful VR education may become.
These announcements are merely the latest in a slew of VR reveals coming out of Mountain View this January. Google also revealed this month that it will be making audio improvements to Google Cardboard as well as the creation of a dedicated VR division complete with a VP to run it. Google is a company on the move when it comes to VR. Expect even bigger announcements to roll out as we move deeper into the industry’s biggest year yet.
If you want to find out more about Google Expeditions, or apply to have your school included in the program and beta app, head over to the Pioneer Program website.