When Google rolled out a new version of Chrome-based Google Earth in April, one of its best selling points was a new feature called Voyager. This digital platform allowed users to take interactive tours of a location guided by ‘the world’s leading storytellers, scientists, and nonprofits,’ such as BBC Earth, NASA, and the Jane Goodall Institute. A couple of months in, Google Earth Voyager is now seeking to make inroads into the classrooms with 10 new stories created especially for students.
For this initiative, Google has joined forces with organizations like the National Geographic Society, PBS Education, HHMI Biointeractive and Mission Blue. The company has created stories that would allow students to better understand an interdependent world through visualizations of different locations, cultures and their surrounding environments.
So, students can follow the journeys of early explorers like Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta or join scientists around the world as they investigate pressing issues like the impact of climate change on coral reefs. Another tour would allow them to learn how North America’s diverse waterways were mapped, while yet another would take them on a high seas adventure to Costa Rican Thermal Dome in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
Google for Education
Additionally, Google has made Google Earth available as an additional service for its Google for Education users. This means that a school’s IT administrator would now be able to manage Google Earth directly from the Google Admin panel.
Another exciting development is soon slated to happen in Google’s virtual reality platform called Expeditions for classrooms. Google is geared up to offer self-guided virtual field trips to more than 600 locations, right from Machu Picchu and the International Space Station to the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Wall of China. With students not having to wait for their teachers to enable content, Google hopes they will feel empowered “to explore, build and think critically as active learners.”