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Virtual Field Trips with Google Cardboard

Whoa!" "This is crazy!" "I feel like I'm actually there." "Wow! That is so cool!" "Is this really Machu Picchu?" "That guy has no face. It's blurred out." "Check out the llama!"

These are just a few of the reactions that Mrs. Salyer's 6th grade social studies classes had in her class on a sunny Thursday in December. The students were using Google Cardboard to take a virtual field trip to Machu Picchu. Mrs. Salyer introduced the students to Machu Picchu the day before. However, students were only able to look at static images of the ancient Incan Empire. Insert Google Cardboard.

For this day, we used the Google Street View app (FREE). From here we typed in "Machu Picchu" into the Search option and let the app do the work. Once the app took us to the Andes Mountains, students were able to choose different perspectives to look at the ancient ruins. Google Cardboard uses a smartphone and NFC technology to immerse the viewer into a 3D virtual world. And the images are stunning! You can travel almost any place on the Earth to view nature's beauty as well as man-made architecture. So where do these 360 degree images come from? They come from other people's smartphones. In fact, if you have a smartphone and the Google Street View app, you can create your very own 360 degree image right from where you are standing. Pretty cool, huh! So the next time you go on a field trip or a family vacation, don't forget to take out your smartphone, open the Google Street View app, and capture your very own 360 degree image. You will be thankful you did, AND you will have quite an image to share with others!

For you classroom teachers, if you are looking for immediate student engagement, then look no further than the Google Cardboard. Let me know when you want to check it out. You may just want it in your class the next day.

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