Last year Google first demoed its impressive virtual reality field trip program,Expeditions, and started rolling them out to a select set of schools. Now the company is opening up the VR experience to everyone.
In case you’re not familiar. Expeditions are VR ‘trips’ designed around Google Cardboard that allow teachers to serve as tour guides for a variety of virtual locations they wouldn’t normally be able to visit. Think coral reefs, Mount Everest, or even Mars. To date, it remains one of the more meaningful uses of VR I’ve tried.
While teachers could opt-in to the experience, it was a bit of a lengthy sign-up process. Opening up the program to everyonehelps get the word of mouth out. It also streamlines onboarding; teachers can give the app a quick try and see if it works out for their classroom other than having to plan everything far in advance.
The app is available now on the Play Store, and will arrive on iOS “soon”.
In the same vein of accessibility, Google is also making an all-inclusive Expeditions kit available so that schools can buy them without going through a lengthy sign-up process.
The $9,999 kit includes 30 devices, 30 viewers, 3 chargers, a tablet for teachers, a router, and a case for the equipment. It’s available through Best Buy for Education.
There are a few other classroom updates from Google too:
First, there’s a new Google Cast for Education Chrome app that lets students and teachers share their screen without any complicated hardware, and it’s integrated with Google Classroom.
Second, you can now create quizzes in Google forms (Microsoft introduces a nearly identical feature last week). From here, teachers can make tests that automatically grade themselves, and get a breakdown of what areas students are having trouble with to assess future lesson plans.
Finally, the company unveiled a set of coding toys earlier today that it’s trialing with a small set of schools before a larger rollout later this year.