Workshop title: Investigating the role of virtual reality in geography via Google Expeditions at the Geographical Association's 2017 Annual Conference on Friday, 21 April at 9 am.
Workshop organisers: Dr Steve Tilling, Dr Ana-Despina Tudor, Ms Becky Kitchen and Professor Shailey Minocha
About Google Expeditions: Google Expeditions is a Virtual Reality mobile Application (app) which consists of field trips of places that students experience on a smartphone through a Virtual Reality (VR) viewer called Google cardboard. The Google Expeditions app (available for Android and iOS platforms) has more than 500 expeditions. An expedition comprises of 360-degree photospheres of a location (e.g. Rio de Janeiro). Google Expeditions enable visualisation of locations which may not be feasible or easy to visit in real life (e.g. Galapagos islands or the Tolbachik volcano). Further, Google Expeditions have simulations to envision concepts and systems such as the human heart, the respiratory system, or the process of pollination.
Details of the workshop: Participants will have the opportunity of a hands-on session with Google Expeditions and will be invited to discuss/evaluate the outcomes of a Google-funded project that has investigated the role of virtual reality in geography and science school education.
Our research objectives for geography education in schools have been:
- Whether and how smartphone-based Virtual Reality with 360 photospheres like Google Expeditions (GEs) can be integrated in the Geography curriculum - e.g. teaching geographical concepts and phenomena
- How smartphone-driven Virtual Reality like in GEs can support geographical enquiry?
- How smartphone-driven Virtual Reality like in GEs can complement physical field trips?
In the workshop, we will specifically focus on the role of Virtual Reality in geographical enquiry - both in the context of classroom practice and for physical field trips.