Google expeditions and fieldwork: friends or foes?

Tudor, Ana-Despina; Minocha, Shailey; Tilling, Steve; Needham, Richard and Cutler, Marianne (2017). Google expeditions and fieldwork: friends or foes? In: ASE (The Association for Science Education, UK) Annual Conference 2017, 4-7 Jan 2017, University of Reading, UK.


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.

This workshop provided 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?

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