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Upper Grand students tour Arctic tundra, underwater ecosystems through Google’s virtual reality journeys

January 25, 2016


GUELPH, Ontario – “It was probably the coolest thing ever.”

That’s how one student described trying out Google Cardboard for the first time.

Google Expedition road show stops at Westwood PS

Tech giant Google is spending the week in Upper Grand District School Board schools, as part of its Google Expeditions road show. The road show is part of the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program – a program that brings immersive virtual journeys into the classroom, bringing lessons to life.

On Monday, the road show stopped at Guelph’s Westwood Public School. Students were taken on virtual journeys to Cozumel to learn about the migration of sea turtles. In the Arctic tundra they leaned about permafrost and why trees don’t grow there. They took an underwater tour to learn more about great white sharks.

Teachers, like Westwood’s Kelly Walton, led the students through the virtual journey, stopping along the way to teach the students about the places they are visiting and asking students about what they are seeing.

Westwood PS students try Google Expeditions 3

As a new panorama began, students gasped and shouted out in excitement at the scenes unfolding before their eyes.

“It was cool because we got to go to space and the Caribbean – all while sitting at school,” said one student. “It took us to places we’ve never been,” exclaimed another.

Westwood PS students try Google Expeditions 1

The journeys are meant to engage the students, taking them places that school buses can’t go. Teachers can choose Expeditions that fit seamlessly into their curriculum, lead the students on a journey and then use the Expedition as a jumping off point for further lessons and exercises.

Google worked with teachers to create more than 100 journeys, including tours of the Amazon, observing environmental change in Borneo National Park, and visiting the world’s tallest artificial structure – Dubai’s mega-tall skyscraper Burj Khalifa. Journeys can also take the form of a career expedition, with students getting to experience a day in the life of a veterinarian, Central Park Ranger or airplane pilot, for example.

Upper Grand is one of just four school boards in the country participating in the Canadian road show. All this week Google will stop at Upper Grand schools across the district, allowing new groups of students to try out the Expeditions program.

Google Cardboard is tested in Upper Grand schools

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For more information:
Heather Loney, Communications and Community Engagement Officer
519-822-4420 ext.725
heather.loney@ugdsb.on.ca

Categories: Media Releases