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Friday, September 23, 2016

Virtual in Field Trips = Reality in Learning: By Guest Blogger Erika Lowery

In a nutshell, Google Cardboard is a simple construction that pairs with your smartphone and virtual reality apps that allows learners to experience places around the world.  My first experience with this form of virtual reality was at the National Geography Council for Education annual conference August 2015. By chance, while in the lobby of the hotel the creator of this techtool asked my colleagues and I if we wanted to try out this new learning tool he had. Always excited to try something new we said “yes!”
We were transformed onto a sidewalk in Paris walking around with other people looking at the historical art and architecture the city has to offer. If we reached out we grabbed nothing but air but our eyes were transfixed on all the beauty virtually around us that was in reality thousands of miles away.  This was transformational.
  In Denton ISD, teachers have used Google Cardboard to swim in the Great Barrier Reef and visit the American Museum of Natural History. Students have gone a hike using RYOT- VR in Mr. Fichera’s class at Denton HS.
In Ms. Stevenson’s class, at Calhoun MS, students used NYTVR’s Man on Spire, and Click Effect to experience examples of physical and human geography.
  Since the first cardboard Cardboard there have been many additional models to choose from that allow for hands free usage or that just look fancier than well, cardboard. However, the literal cardboard Cardboard works just fine. Within is another app that is great. They have great 'mini movies' - like The Source - which follows a child in Africa using clean water for the first time.
New apps are in endless supply and learning the real world has never been so virtual.
PS: I would suggest you learn and play with a partner. Your eyes might be in Paris but your toes may knock into your chair. Ouch!

Guest Blogger: Erika Lowery

Erika Lowery is the Denton ISD Secondary Social Studies Coordinator. Erika is beginning her 20th year in education. 17 years as a classroom teacher, one year as an Instructional Coach, and starting her second year in her current position. Mrs. Lowery’s passion for Geography education was recognized by National Council for Geographic Education in 2013 when she was honored with the Distinguished Teacher K-12 award.  @ErikaLowery

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