Virtual reality takes students on field trips without leaving the classroom

Virtual reality takes students on field trips without leaving the classroom

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Imagine your child taking a class field trip without having to leave the classroom.

A survey by Google found 43% of schools around the country considered getting rid of field trips entirely. But one device is changing the game.

West Texas teachers at the Region 18 Education Service Center learned how they can bring the world to their students' eyes on Monday.

They were presented by Google's Texas Regional Education Manager Kevin Hodges on what's called Google Expedition. They're virtual reality headsets where students can take virtual field trips and take 360 degree views  of different countries. They can visit the ocean, outer space or even learn about the human body. Teachers use a tablet to guide the tour where they can teach subjects from history, health and science, and social studies.

"It's exciting to take our West Texas students and broaden their horizon and see beyond just what we have out here," said ESC 18 Educational Consultant Laura Kile.

Teachers told us they believe utilizing this tool would take learning to a whole new level.

"I've never thought about technology in this way," said kindergarten teacher Melissa Morales. "Sometimes technology can be scary so incorporating it in the classroom makes sense. Especially for children who don't have an idea of what some of these places are and might not ever get to see them."

ECISD is one of the districts currently invested in the program. Each year, it's introduced to more West Texas teachers to learn how the magic of technology is becoming a virtual reality.

"I'd like for our administrators to look at this," said Morales. "It just makes you wonder what things will be 20 years from now."

The ESC 18 center will be holding several conferences throughout the summer. In the upcoming weeks, there will be sessions that include LEGO Math, writing, more Virtual Reality lessons and using workstations. For the list of sessions, click here.

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