Category Archives: googleblog

Bring virtual reality field trips to your school with Google Expeditions

At the Bronx Latin School in New York City, teacher Katrina Roman says the topic of ancient history doesn’t usually set students abuzz. But this week, they took a field trip to ancient Aztec ruins using Google Expeditions, a virtual reality teaching tool built with Google Cardboard. Normally, their assignment would involve poring over photocopied photographs, but instead, they stood at the top of Chichen Itza, then examined detailed carvings at Tenochtitlan. Amid “oohs” and “aahhs,” the students shouted out details they noticed and shot hands up to answer Ms. Roman’s questions.

Katrina Roman’s class at the Bronx Latin School fills out their assignment after visiting Aztec ruins with Expeditions. The class is part of a history and geography pilot with New Visions for Public Schools.

Starting today, we’re bringing this experience to thousands of schools around the world with the new Expeditions Pioneer Program. During the 2015/2016 school year, we’ll be bringing “kits” containing everything a teacher needs to run a virtual trip for their class: ASUS smartphones, a tablet for the teacher to direct the tour, a router that allows Expeditions to run without an Internet connection, and Google Cardboard viewers or Mattel View-Masters that turn phones into virtual reality headsets. Although nothing replaces hopping on the bus for a field trip, there are some places that are just out of reach (hello, Chichen Itza!). Virtual reality gives teachers a tool to take students places a school bus can’t.

To help teachers learn how to use Expeditions, we’ll be visiting thousands of schools around the world and bringing the kit for teachers to use in their classes for the day. Up first: Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S., followed by more locations as the school year progresses. At each school, our team will show teachers how Expeditions works and help set it up before class.

Right now, teachers can choose from a library of 100+ virtual trips to places like Mars, the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Wall of China. But we’re constantly adding more trips with the help of partners like PBS, educational publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, British documentarian David Attenborough in collaboration with Alchemy VR, and the Wildlife Conservation Society. We’re also working with the Starfish Foundation to help students explore future careers by showing them a virtual day in the life of professionals including a veterinarian and computer scientist. And to help students achieve those career goals, we’re working with First Lady Michelle Obama to support her Reach Higher initiative by taking students on virtual college tours.

And if you see one of these cars on the road, that’s us! The folks at Subaru, who invest in education as part of their Love Promise initiative, have created a fleet of Expedition Pioneer Program rides that we’ll be using to bring kits to schools.

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Bring virtual reality field trips to your school with Google Expeditions

At the Bronx Latin School in New York City, teacher Katrina Roman says the topic of ancient history doesn’t usually set students abuzz. But this week, they took a field trip to ancient Aztec ruins using Google Expeditions, a virtual reality teaching tool built with Google Cardboard. Normally, their assignment would involve poring over photocopied photographs, but instead, they stood at the top of Chichen Itza, then examined detailed carvings at Tenochtitlan. Amid “oohs” and “aahhs,” the students shouted out details they noticed and shot hands up to answer Ms. Roman’s questions.

Katrina Roman’s class at the Bronx Latin School fills out their assignment after visiting Aztec ruins with Expeditions. The class is part of a history and geography pilot with New Visions for Public Schools.

Starting today, we’re bringing this experience to thousands of schools around the world with the new Expeditions Pioneer Program. During the 2015/2016 school year, we’ll be bringing “kits” containing everything a teacher needs to run a virtual trip for their class: ASUS smartphones, a tablet for the teacher to direct the tour, a router that allows Expeditions to run without an Internet connection, and Google Cardboard viewers or Mattel View-Masters that turn phones into virtual reality headsets. Although nothing replaces hopping on the bus for a field trip, there are some places that are just out of reach (hello, Chichen Itza!). Virtual reality gives teachers a tool to take students places a school bus can’t.

To help teachers learn how to use Expeditions, we’ll be visiting thousands of schools around the world and bringing the kit for teachers to use in their classes for the day. Up first: Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S., followed by more locations as the school year progresses. At each school, our team will show teachers how Expeditions works and help set it up before class.

Right now, teachers can choose from a library of 100+ virtual trips to places like Mars, the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Wall of China. But we’re constantly adding more trips with the help of partners like PBS, educational publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, British documentarian David Attenborough and his production company Alchemy VR, and the Wildlife Conservation Society. We’re also working with the Starfish Foundation to help students explore future careers by showing them a virtual day in the life of professionals including a veterinarian and computer scientist. And to help students achieve those career goals, we’re working with First Lady Michelle Obama to support her Reach Higher initiative by taking students on virtual college tours.

And if you see one of these cars on the road, that’s us! The folks at Subaru, who invest in education as part of their Love Promise initiative, have created a fleet of Expedition Pioneer Program rides that we’ll be using to bring kits to schools.

read more

Bringing the Internet to more Indians—starting with 10 million rail passengers a day

When I was a student, I relished the day-long railway journey I would make from Chennai Central station (then known as Madras Central) to IIT Kharagpur. I vividly remember the frenetic energy at the various stations along the way and marveled at the incredible scale and scope of Indian Railways.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Googleplex today

I’m very proud to announce that it’s the train stations of India that are going to help get millions of people online. In the past year, 100 million people in India started using the Internet for the first time. This means there are now more Internet users in India than in every country in the world aside from China. But what’s really astounding is the fact that there are still nearly one billion people in India who aren’t online.

We’d like to help get these next billion Indians online—so they can access the entire web, and all of its information and opportunity. And not just with any old connection—with fast broadband so they can experience the best of the web. That’s why, today, on the occasion of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to our U.S. headquarters, and in line with his Digital India initiative, we announced a new project to provide high-speed public Wi-Fi in 400 train stations across India. 

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Through the Google lens: Search Trends Sept 18–24

Even if you weren’t trying to keep up with all your fall shows returning, this week was a busy one. Here’s a look at what captured our attention the past seven days—from the Pope to a little rat with a big dream.

Also, we’re changing up this series, so this will be our last regular Friday post for a while. We’ll be back soon in a different format. Until then, keep on searchin’ on.

Pizza rat is all of us
Let’s start with the important stuff. This week the Internet was captivated by a YouTube video showing a rat carrying a slice of pizza down the stairs of a New York subway station. There were more than 50K+ searches for “Pizza Rat” on Monday, and the 14 second-video has more than 6 million views at last count. But while #PizzaRat memes multiplied across the web, New Yorkers had some more unsettling questions in mind, like: “How many rats are in New York?” and “What is the rat to people ratio in New York?” (Are you sure you want to know?) Whether Pizza Rat is a hero or a quitter, something about him spoke to us. Because in a way, aren’t we all just rats trying to find a slice of pizza in the subway station of life?

Hello, Pope Francis
This week Pope Francis became the fourth pope to visit the United States, in a highly anticipated tour that took him from D.C. to New York, with a Philadelphia stop still to come. Every day of his visit has brought headlines and curious searches (more than 500K on Tuesday)—and he’s been busy. He met with President Obama (and the President’s dogs) at the White House, stopped by the Capitol to give a joint address to Congress (the first time a pontiff has ever done so), canonized Junipero Serra, visited the 9/11 Memorial, spoke at the United Nations and made statements on everything ranging from climate change to the refugee crisis.

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