Rocky Mountain HS goes on virtual 'field trip'

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Foreign language students at a Fort Collins High School were taken on exotic expeditions across the globe on Thursday thanks to Google Virtual Reality (VR) goggles.

Google Expedition is a program where students use Google-designed virtual reality goggles to "visit" countries and geological features around the globe. Using the technology, kids learned about each of the locations, some of which included a visit Italy and the Galapagos Islands.

Stephanie Carson stumbled on the idea online.

"You're allowing students to have an experience they can't have in a virtual classroom," Carson said.

The goggles are made from cardboard and are called Google Cardboard. Carson said the casings are only $12, but there's a phone inside which provides the virtually display.

"We're just visiting the city of Venice. Seeing some of the major sites and learning about the history," said Jennifer Roper, who was teaching her advanced German classes. "We went to the Basilica, we went to St. Marco's square and had a ride on a gondola."

"Right now we're looking at what's called a bridge of sighs and it connects to two sides of a prison over a canal in Venice," said Junior Adrian Kady. "There are human faces carved on the bridge to represent human emotion."

Roper's lesson was given in German, but classes with beginners learned in English. 

"Going to different countries is an experience, but this is almost like you're there at the same time," said freshmen Aaron Biggerstaff.

A Google representative brought 60 goggles to the school so two classes could be held at the same time. Teachers now question whether the technology should become a permanent learning tool at the school.


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