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Monday, April 29, 2019

5 Tips for New Google Expeditions Users

Image copyright: Richard Byrne
Google Expeditions is often the first educational virtual reality tool that I introduce to teachers who come to one of my workshops. Here are five tips that I frequently pass along to teachers who are preparing to use Google Expeditions for the first time. If you have never used Expeditions, you might want to watch this short tutorial and then come back to read these tips.

Download Early
A lot people either don't realize it at first or just forget to do it, if you're going to be the Guide in Expeditions, you need to download the Expedition on which you want to guide your students.

You Don't Have to Lucky Dip
If you open the Google Expeditions app on your phone or tablet and you can browse through the VR and AR tours according to broad topics like science, landscapes, and careers. And you can read a little description of each tour, but you don't really know what lessons you might teach with a tour until you open it and go through it yourself. There is another option for finding Google Expeditions VR and AR tours. That option is found in this list of Expeditions spreadsheet owned by Jennifer Holland that Greg Kulowiec shared with me.

The list of Expeditions spreadsheet includes a list of scenes in each tour, a tour summary, and in some cases a link to a lesson plan. Search through the spreadsheet by using "Ctrl+F" "Command+F" on your keyboard.

Talk to Your IT Person (the sooner the better)
If you want to guide your student in Google Expeditions virtual reality tours you will need to make sure that you and your students are on the same network. In many schools students and teachers are on different wi-fi networks. There are a few solutions to this including buying a Google Expeditions kit from a retailer like Best Buy (most expensive option), using a wireless hotspot (not terribly expensive in most cases), or asking your IT person if he/she can set-up a small network for your classroom (this may require bribing said IT person with chocolate or coffee). Your school's IT person can tell you what options are available to you.

You Can Make Your Own Expeditions
Earlier this year Google announced that you can now view tours that you create with their VR Tour Creator in your Google Expeditions app. The catch is that you must use the same Google account for VR Tour Creator as you do for the Google Expeditions app. Watch my videos below for directions on making your own tour and for viewing it in the Google Expeditions app.



Students Can Explore on Their Own
Being able to guide your students on tours in Google Expeditions is great because you can be relatively certain that they are looking at the tour that you want them to view. But there is a lot to be said for letting students explore on their own in Google Expeditions. Fortunately, Google realized this a couple of years ago and introduced Explorer mode which lets students explore VR and AR tours on their own within the Expeditions app. Watch my video below to see how students can do this.