Monday, January 21, 2019

Fourth Grade Student-led Virtual Field Trips with Google Tour Creator

A couple months ago I wrote about Fifth Graders Creating AR/VR Experiences to Enhance Learning in an after school club led by Joy Curran, Minnewashta Elementary Advanced Learning Coordinator. Recently these opportunities for students have expanded beyond the club to all grade four Spanish immersion social studies students. Teachers are very excited about further possibilities.

Fourth grade teacher Carolyn Suarez attended a social studies conference a few months ago and was excited to incorporate more virtual field trip experiences for her students. First, teachers started with Google Expeditions, exploring places around the world. If you haven’t seen this master list of over 900 Google VR Expeditions, take a look. There is now a second tab with over 100 AR Experiences, too. Here are some instructions for using Google Expeditions with iPads.

When the fourth grade teachers talked with Joy and heard that they could have students create their own tours they were even more excited. Students used Google Tour Creator as they were researching a Spanish speaking country. The teachers laid out the framework of the project, such as including the country’s flag and a stop at the capital city and include facts about each site shown on the tour. Students were very engaged and created some great tours, learning how to use the program and even add in additional embedded photos such as a dolphin jumping in the water within a beach scene. They even were able to use Merge VR Goggles and refurbished smartphones to view on another’s tours, too.

The teachers explained that this was a good way to get started with VR. Students were very motivated and some even continued to work on their projects at home. The teachers are anxious to try other more extensive projects, such as having the students include audio narration as well as use other VR/AR tools such as CoSpacesEdu with Merge Cubes. They plan to give students more voice and choice in future projects and will be including the option to create a VR/AR project for upcoming assignments. They also received some grant money to purchase more refurbished phones. It will be fun to see what the students create next!

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