Westside Atlanta Charter School students will now be able to take virtual field trips to other countries and continents thanks to Google Expeditions virtual reality kits the school was able to purchase with a portion of a grant it recently received from Chik-fil-A.
Sixth Grade Teacher in Residence Amanda Taylor (pictured on the left) became interested in the devices after students in another school where she taught used cardboard versions of Google Expeditions. After arriving at Westside, she dreamed of a way students could “travel” around the world without leaving the classroom. To make that dream a reality, Taylor started a DonorsChoose page, but unfortunately was not able to raise the money needed to buy the kits. DonorsChoose is a an online giving site that allows teachers to post classroom and project requests. That’s when school administrators decided to set aside a portion of the money it received from Chick-fil-A for purchase of the Google Expeditions Kits.
“It helps even the playing field. Some of our students have a lot of life experience and are able to travel to many different places while others don’t have that opportunity,” said Taylor. “This is a way for students to experience different cultures and go around the world without ever having to get a passport, pay money or leave the area.”
On the day Georgia Charter Schools Association visited, students testing the virtual reality technology traveled to Rio De Janeiro in Brazil. They were able to get a 360 degree view of the landscape and visit various tourist attractions and historical sites.
“We’re just excited about the students having the opportunity to make a connection between what they’re learning on paper and putting an actual visual to it.” When our staffed tried them out, one of the expeditions we went on was at the Great Wall. It was much more realistic than I expected … We were able to visualize the length of the wall and the magnitude of it.”
Westside Atlanta Charter School teachers plan to start incorporating the Google Expeditions kits into their curriculum as early as this week.
Westside Atlanta Charter School is intentional about giving its students experiences outside the classroom to help build real-life connections with what they’re learning. Students typically take one field trip a month through a combination of school and parent funding.
Click HERE to see Westside Atlanta Charter School students testing out the Google Expeditions virtual reality kits.