Google introduced Expeditions and I think it’s a great idea, but… some articles about the new tool make some mistakes (imho) that could go unnoticed, this Trendhunter-article already goes awry in the title: “Virtual Learning Headsets”
The tools the article is talking about is Google Cardboard and the possibility to go on a virtual field trip, so it is all about virtual headsets, but are these virtual learning headsets? Well, that’s more difficult to tell. It’s not because you are walking through the Grand Canyon that you will learn a lot about geology by definition. The learning will need something more, even more than an explanation during the virtual trip.
Next step: the article talks about “cost-effective excursions”, and indeed the Google cardboard itself costs almost nothing, but… the tablet you need to use does cost a bit more, the wifi installation that needs to handle over 25 tablets also,… Luckily you can use the tablets and wifi also for other stuff, but free it ain’t.
And check this:
Google’s Expedition was built with help from thousands of teachers and students in a range of grade levels to make the experience as educational and as immersive as possible for groups of all ages.
It’s important to discuss ‘immersive as possible’. I’ve used the Oculus Rift myself and it’s mindblowing, but there is a huge difference between ‘immersive’ and ‘as immersive as possible’, no wind through your hair, no smell and no traveling to the place. And, this is important, no interaction between the pupils as they can’t see each others amazement because the other pupils aren’t present in the virtual space.
The last sentence of the article discloses the real issue “Budget cuts often make out-of-classroom travel impossible, but Google Cardboard proves to be a low-cost way to take kids anywhere without a school bus.”
So, because we don’t want to invest in education let’s go digital?
Wouldn’t it be much better if the last sentence would have been: “because there are places you can’t visit, because you can’t go on a field trip every single week or even month, this tool can give a great addition to situated learning?”