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STEM Spotlight: Bishops’ Blue Coat explorers take a Google Expedition!
Today we’re spotlighting The Bishops’ Blue Coat Church of England High School, Chester. Kelly Thomas, Deputy Head of ICT, spoke to us about their STEM-sational Google Expeditions event!
On Monday 23rd January we welcomed Google into the school to spend the day working with different classes on Google Expeditions. The VR app allows classes to be transported to hundreds of different places, times and objects in the world on ‘virtual school trips’.
The app allows teachers to choose an ‘Expedition’ to take students on and allow students to join the Expedition through the use of a smart phone using the app. Students can then use a Google Cardboard VR headset to hold the phone in place and be able to be directed to different still 360 images that form the Expedition. Through the use of the Guide function of the app staff are able to access simple questions to engage students, see where students are looking on the image and pinpoint points of interest in the image.
The day was started with a brief introduction to the app by the Google ambassador that attended our school. The app is really simple to use and it took less than 10 minutes for staff to be confident with using the device with students.
Throughout the day classes in a variety of subjects were able to experience the expeditions, which also enabled staff from different departments to see the opportunities for using the app within their subject areas. Once students had been for a whistle stop tour of their subjects Expedition they were then able to view a range of different and exciting Expeditions including a tour of the solar system, looking at the respiratory system, swimming with sharks and a tour of the Grand Canyon.
Below are some of the comments from staff involved in the day along with some details of what expeditions were used in each subject area.
In RS classes students were able to take a tour of the Mosque at the Taj Mahal as well as seeing a small number of the religious buildings and sites in Jerusalem. RE teacher Miss Sadler was one of the staff delivering the expeditions throughout the day:
“I found the Google Expedition app a really enjoyable experience that allowed me to teach in a fun and different way! You could tell from the excitement around the room that students were engaged and eager to learn more about the places of faith. I found the app really useful for behaviour management too, giving me access to pause what students were viewing meant that I had control over the lesson and could ensure all students were listening when required. The detail provided for each place of worship was brilliant too. It was great to virtually visit each place but to actually learn something about the buildings/areas added to the experience. I think the Google Expedition app is a wonderful resource for teaching, allowing me to adapt my teaching methods and style but most importantly, allow students to virtually experience different places they may not have the opportunity to visit in real life.”
Other subjects also had the opportunity to experience how Google Expeditions could be used within their subject areas:
In Art students were able to visit The Freer art gallery, one of the many Smithsonian Museums in the United States of America.
In History students were transported to World War 1 trenches or to a Medieval Castle.
In IT students got to see what it was like to work at Google Headquarters in San Francisco and were then transported to the International Space Station to see the science taking place and the liking conditions of the astronauts.
Kelly Thomas – Deputy Head of ICT
The Bishops’ Blue Coat Church of England High School
Congratulations to Bishops’ Blue Coat, what a fantastic way to show your students the world and beyond! We have more inspiration from this school coming up… stay tuned!
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