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Expeditions

By Sally Finley - Posted Jan 1, 2017
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Company: Google, Inc., 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA, 94043; google?.com/edu/expeditions

Price: The app can be bought on iTunes, and Expedition Kits can be purchased at Best Buy Education. Prices are based on the number of students: 30-student kit ($9,999), 20-student kit ($6,999), and 10-student kit ($3,999). Call Best Buy Education (877-393-1038) for customized, build-your-own kit prices.

Audience: Expeditions is appropriate for elementary, middle, and high school students.

Format: Expeditions is an app available on iTunes using kits. It is compatible with an ?iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

System Requirements: The app isGPU-comparable with an Adreno 330, high-resolution screen; 720p or 1080p is recommended. A minimum of 2GB RAM is needed, although 3GB–4GB would be better. The app requires 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi support and a virtual reality (VR) viewer compatible screen size. 

A Wi-Fi network allows devices connected to the network to communicate with the internet. If using a router, a 5GHz network is recommended, but 2.4GHz will also work. Expeditions will run on Android 4.4 and above or iOS 8.0 or above. Multiple devices are required to use the app. A gyroscope and accelerometer for determining orientation and doing head-tracking in a VR viewer is also required.

Description: Expeditions provides virtual field trips to places that include museums and underwater locations, and even ventures into outer space. It is a collection of linked virtual reality content and supporting materials to use with existing curriculum. Using 360-degree panoramas and 3D images, the content annotates images with details, points of interest, and questions.

REPORT CARD
Overall Rating:5 Stars
Installation:A
Content/Features:A
Ease of Use:A
Product Support: A

 

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: An internet connection is needed to install the app or download an individual Expedition. The only requirement to lead an expedition is a peer-to-peer Wi-Fi network. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: Expeditions is intended to be part of existing curriculum by providing virtual field trips for students. Two roles are available at the beginning of each expedition: lead and follower. 

More than 200 Expedition kits are available for purchase. Schools can also build their own kits to use with Google Expeditions.

Expeditions content, tours, and teacher guides are available only in English; however, the Expeditions app has been translated into 40 languages.

A gyroscope and accelerometer determine orientation and head-tracking in a virtual reality viewer. Expeditions also works with Cardboard devices. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: An internet connection is required. Once the program is set up correctly, it is easy to use. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: Support is available at support.google.com/edu/expeditions/?hl?=en#topic=6334250. The Google for Education Training Center has also added a unit on Expedition. Product Support ?Rating: A

Recommendation: Expeditions are group experiences with a guide leading and the explorers following along. The program suggests that a tablet is used by the guide (usually the teacher) and phones for the followers (students). Explorers should also have a VR viewer. A phone is placed inside the viewer, and the user then looks around to explore the panorama. Virtual reality viewers can be made from a heavy cardboard box using a template available from Google. Materials and directions for making a viewer are provided on YouTube. Expeditions can be downloaded to a computer, or the user can browse to find a new one.

Expedition actively engages learners, taking them to sites around the world. The special effect of using a viewer to get a panoramic view will definitely appeal to students of all ages.

Although setting up the program requires several steps, the Google site gives detailed directions for establishing a Wi-Fi network, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a new router. There is a lot of support for those using this product for the first time.

For students engaged in project-based learning, Expeditions is an excellent tool to provide background experiences for the students. I highly recommend that educators further investigate this product to examine how it aligns with their curriculum. Highly Recommended.

 

Reviewer: Sally Finley is an educational consultant based in Coral Springs, Fla. Her email address is sallyfinley1@yahoo.com.


 
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