By Janee Law
Students at Elwood-John H. Glenn High School were given the opportunity to pilot the new Augmented Reality program from Google Expeditions, where lessons were brought into the 3-D world.
Krista Albrecht, instructional technology specialist at Elwood, said that the augmented reality program was a blend of the virtual world and the real world, where people see “objects through a device as they interact or are sometimes just part of your actual reality.”
She added, “In this program, there are several virtual models placed around the room for students to walk around, get close to, and examine for further study while using an app on a smartphone being held by a selfie stick.”
The high school was selected to pilot this program in October, after an application was submitted to Google to take on the project.
“We are always eager to move forward in all areas of education, and technology integration is no different,” Albrecht said. “We were so excited to see what Google had to offer.”
Albrecht said the pilot program was a one-day experience, which took place on Oct. 31. Classes that experienced the program included the anatomy, living environment and earth science classes. These classes are a blend of ninth- and 10th-grade students.
Teachers led students through the augmented reality expeditions and pointed out specific parts of the model, while inciting discussions relating to the topic. For instance, earth science students witnessed a twisting tornado and were able to discuss wind direction, speed and the diameter of the cone.
Albrecht said the students enjoyed the augmented reality program.
“They thought it was amazing that it appeared in 3-D and that they could walk all around the objects,” she added. “Of course, they also thought it was funny when they could see their classmates peeking through an object.”
A representative from Google set up the equipment in the classrooms and received feedback from students on how the program could be improved.
“Our students were happy and eager to offer suggestions about how to make the technology better and, of course, we love hearing our students’ ideas for improving things,” Albrecht said. “I hope that this program grows and morphs into something fantastic for our young learners. I also hope that Google develops a way for us to make our own [augmented reality] tours so that we can customize the experience for our specific curricular needs.”