Google expeditions and fieldwork: friends or foes?

The Association for Science Education (ASE) Annual Conference

Workshop on Saturday 7th January 2017

The Research Project:

Google Expeditions ( is a Virtual Reality (VR) approach being promoted by Google in schools globally. Google Expeditions are guided tours (field trips) of places that students experience on a smartphone through a virtual reality viewer called Google cardboard.

The Open University (OU), UK are conducting a school-based research project (funded by Google and the OU; July 2016 - June 2017) on the potential use of VR via Google Expeditions in secondary school science and geography.

The project ( is being co-led by Field Studies Council, and UK's Association for Science Education and Geographical Association are the two partnering organisations.

About the Workshop:

This workshop will provide an opportunity to try out Google Expeditions and to explore how they could be used to support teaching and learning, including fieldwork.

Are Google Expeditions a threat to traditional field trips or could they become a complementary tool for strengthening the quality of outdoor learning, for example by providing an immersive technology which adds context and substance to pre-field preparation, in-field activities and post-field revision and reflection?


Ana-Despina Tudor and Shailey Minocha (The Open University, UK)

Steve Tilling (Field Studies Council)

Marianne Cutler (ASE) and Richard Needham (ASE and Vicia Learning Solutions Ltd.)

Workshop location at the ASE Conference: 

Henley Business School, 101, University of Reading, UK

Related posts:

Virtual Reality in Science and Geography Education

Two Science teachers looking at Google Expeditions via the Google Cardboard viewers (picture courtesy: Dr. Duncan Banks)

Two Science teachers looking at Google Expeditions via the Google Cardboard viewers (picture courtesy: Dr. Duncan Banks)

Google Expeditions

A Google Expedition (GE) is a Virtual Reality approach comprising of 360 degree photospheres of a location (e.g. a museum, or a city like Rio de Janeiro, an active volcano) along with the description of location, points of interest and suggested questions for discussion. Using a Tablet and via the GEs App, a teacher can guide students. Students experience the GE through the smartphones embedded within the VR viewers called Google cardboard.

About the project and ASE article

Our research project’s objective is examine the role of Virtual Reality (VR) in science and geography in schools. Details of our Google and The Open University-funded research project on Google Expeditions have appeared in The Association for Science Education's in-house magazine Education for Science, September 2016.

The article is not open access but we have received a pdf version from the editor - which is available here.

On this Google Expeditions project, The Open University (Shailey Minocha and Ana-Despina Tudor) is working with Google and leading UK education organisations including the Field Studies Council (Steve Tilling), Geographical Association (Rebecca Kitchen and Alan Kinder) and The Association for Science Education (Marianne Cutler and Richard Needham).

press release

A press release of our project is on our university's website, Teaching in Virtual Reality, 27th September 2016.