Virtual reality tours for Forfar pupils

Forfar front plug
Forfar front plug

Pupils at Forfar Academy were treated to a virtual reality experience last week - all thanks to a new project by Google.

A new programme - Google Expeditions - takes pupils on virtual reality school trips, based on the curriculum.

Google is aiming to reach 200,000 pupils in Scotland. The programme allows teachers to use the technology to bring pupils on virtual trips to places they could never otherwise get to - from museums and natural wonders, to underwater and outer space, to exploring inside the human body or experiencing careers at Aston Martin or in the operating theatre.

In order for teachers to deliver the lessons, an expeditions coordinator and a box arrives with everything schools need to travel: a tablet for the teacher, and cardboard viewers and phones for every student. Next, the teacher selects a destination, and the entire classroom jumps there automatically.

Google has partnered with Twig and TES to tailor the content to the UK curriculum with easy-to-use lesson plans.

Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, space and accessibility scientist, said: “To try to inspire the next generation of space scientists and STEM practitioners I like to take kids on “Tours of the Universe.” With this technology it really feels one step closer to actually being out there. With the range of Expeditions available I think that kids will not just be inspired to consider a vast range of careers but will also be able to reach for the stars themselves. I wish this was around when I was young.”

Expeditions in Scotland is part of a broader commitment announced by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, to reach one million students in the UK through the programme while also supporting teachers by providing training in how best to make the most of technology in the classroom.

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, said: “Virtual reality can spark students’ imagination and help them learn about topics like how blood flows through the human body or the impact climate change is having on the Great Barrier Reef, in an engaging and immersive way.

“We can also take a class through one of our new career Expeditions, which inspires students to think about their future professions by taking a virtual trip to work environments like a hospital operating theatre or behind the scenes at Aston Martin.

“We’ve already received feedback from thousands of teachers in the UK and they believe that Expeditions can improve literacy and writing skills, and help create excitement to complement traditional teaching methods.”