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Virtual reality field trips coming to WCS

Thanks to Google Expeditions, students at Walton Central School will soon be able to take virtual field trips throughout the world.

The Walton Central School District recently purchased a Google Expeditions kit, which contains 20 virtual reality (VR) viewers, one teacher tablet, and a router. The kit allows a teacher to select from more than 500 expeditions of various content and grade level areas and begin leading their class on a learning adventure.

“This is another way that technology allows us to give students as many opportunities as possible and give them the ability to see different things throughout the world,” said Walton Director of Technology Rick Robinson.

Teachers at Walton have had experience with VR and Google Expeditions in the past through the use of Google cardboard. But the purchasing of the kit provides easier student and teacher access to devices necessary to run the program and ease of curriculum integration.

“It excites me to work with teachers and provide the district with learning possibilities that go beyond our daily borders,” said DCMO BOCES Instructional Technology Coordinator Crystal Trask. “This helps inspire further learning and exploration of many topics.”

Teachers had a chance to test out the devices during their orientation before the start of school. They visited the islands of Hawaii, and the San Diego Zoo. Some of the administration this week had the chance to view the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), as viewed from space and other areas of the planet.

Teachers will soon have the opportunity for professional development to learn how to use and run the Google Expeditions, with the hopes of having the kit being used in classrooms later this year.

“What a great way to have technology in the classroom,” Walton Superintendent Roger Clough said. “Our kids have the chance to see different parts of the world through virtual reality.”

Photo caption: Members of the school administrative team take a peek at Google Expeditions, which is a virtual reality setup, on Friday afternoon. From left are WCS HS/MS assistant principal Mark Lamoreaux, Director of Technology Rick Robinson, Superintendent Roger Clough, and HS/MS Principal Rob Knuschke.
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