My Intro to Google Expeditions: A Supplement to My Conversation with Chris Shedd

After my conversation with Chris Shedd at Burley Middle School in Charlottesville, VA, I realized I knew very little about Google Expeditions.  This came up during the course of our conversation.  I’d heard about it, but didn’t know much more than it was a VR experience for students.  Well, it turned out that Chris and his students had worked on developing an Expedition for Jefferson’s Monticello, which is just outside of town.  The site already had some Expeditions set up for the house, but what Mr. Shedd’s class realized was that there was nothing yet for Mulberry Row, the area of Monticello where the slaves’ quarters were.  The kids took on the work of developing a new Expedition for Monticello that would provide an opportunity for users to learn about slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello.  For more details on this, check out my conversation with Chris on the podcast.

I thought that perhaps for this post, I’d provide an Expeditions Basics page.  I don’t presume to guide you toward the development of your own Google Expedition, but after talking with Chris about how he’s used them, it seemed like a good idea to make this information on using Expeditions a little more easily available to anyone who listened and took interest.

So first, you’ll need to get the app, which is available on Google Play.  There is also a page that gives you the rundown of what is required to run an Expedition.  Here’s that link.  There is a brief mention that you can run a “magic window” on Android devices.  It read as though that could be a substitute for the cardboard visors that you slide the smartphone/iPod into—I’m not 100% sure, but if Google says so…

So once all of that is set up, you’ll be able to search for Expeditions to go on.  I did find a spreadsheet that was last updated on 5/30/18.  (The Mulberry Row Expedition is #95)   From my limited knowledge about Google Expeditions, I thought it was mostly just a self-guided, wandering experience.  One thing I learned from talking with Chris, was that the teacher uses a tablet to guide the students’ experience.  I felt like that provided a different level of control to the pacing that allowed for questioning, focus, etc.  Definitely a positive feature.  On how to run an Expedition follow this link.

Last of all, I found out that Google also has an augmented reality (AR) component to their Expeditions.  If you’re familiar with Merge Cube, or Z-Space, these are also AR devices.

Hopefully, this has been helpful, and although I don’t presume to be able to set up one of these, I did find (yet another) link to get you in touch with Google if you’re interested.   Below is Google's intro clip: