Google Expeditions Augmented Reality at EMCSD
“This takes learning to a whole new level!” exclaimed Cherrylee Principal Doris Tran. What has all the students and teachers at Cherrylee School oohing and aahing in their classrooms? It’s a Google Expeditions Augmented Reality presentation. What is augmented reality? It’s a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world. Unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment, augmented reality uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it. In this case, through a smartphone screen, students were seeing a three dimensional image of an erupting volcano right in their classroom. Students could walk all around the volcano, get in close to spot details, and step back to see the full picture. Students also viewed the solar system and the human circulatory system.
El Monte City School District‘s Cherrylee School is only the fourth school in the country to experience the Google Expedition Augmented Reality program. Last spring, fifth grade teacher Yesica Navarro was researching Google’s virtual reality program and noticed a Google announcement asking schools to apply for this augmented reality experience. Navarro applied and Cherrylee was chosen.
Five tornadoes appeared in third grade teacher Geri Varela’s class. Student Noah Fonseca shouted, “Miss Varela! I’m in a tornado!”
Varela said, “Technology is at our fingertips now. The future is here. It gives me goosebumps!”
Katie Stanton’s sixth grade class witnessed ancient Roman ruins.. She said, “This is wonderful to promote collaborative learning. My students are excited about it.”
Mary Blakey, also a sixth grade teacher, said, “Google Expeditions will allow us to take our students on virtual treks across the globe.”
Miss Varela was right. The future is here. And the students at Cherrylee couldn’t be more excited to explore everything from a strand of DNA to the rings of Saturn!