Activity – Explore Google Expeditions

Now, take a few minutes to try out augmented and virtual reality for yourself!

A great place to get started with both augmented and virtual reality is the Google Expeditions app, available for both Android and iOS. Expeditions offers virtual reality tours created by both professional organizations and educators. Anyone can create their own tours using Google Tour Creator. Educators and trainers can lead learners through tours in real-time if everyone is on the same Wi-Fi network (setup required!).

Let’s get started.

  1. Download the Expeditions app:
    1. Download for Android
    2. Download for iOS
  2. If you have a VR headset, familiarize yourself with the strap, focal adjustment, and any buttons before you put it on. You may need to remove your phone’s case to make it fit.
  3. Open Expeditions on your device
  4. Choose an AR or a VR tour (look for the label “AR or “VR”)
    1. AR – try Dinosaurs or Sharks
    2. VR – try Hōkūle’a’s WorldWide Voyage or International Space Station
  5. Select “Download to view or guide”
  6. Be patient while it downloads! If “download” button is grayed out, it is still downloading. Button will change to “View in AR” or “View in VR” as soon as the download is complete.
  7. Select “View in AR” or “View in VR”
    1. Experience AR by pointing your phone at a flat surface (the app will give you on-screen instructions)
    2. Experience VR by launching it and placing your phone into a VR headset. Your phone will instruct you to place it into a “Cardboard viewer,” but just turn your phone sideways and place into your headset.
      Screenshot of Google Expeditions VR experience on a smartphone
      If you don’t have a headset, you can still experience VR by tapping the broken square in the bottom righthand corner. Exit the experience by tapping the X in the top lefthand corner.

Troubleshooting Frequent Issues

  • AR – if you are not given the option to view AR elements in the space around you, and instead are limited to viewing items on a white background, your mobile device is not AR-ready. See list of ARCore Supported Devices and how to upgrade your software.
  • VR – if your VR experience is interactive, but the button on your VR headset is not working to select onscreen items, try removing your phone, turning 180 degrees, and placing back in the headset.
  • VR – if your VR headset is minimalist and does not have a button, you will have to remove your phone and tap the screen manually to select interactive elements.

Reflection

Now that you’ve experienced AR and VR, what did you think? What possibilities for learning do you see? What are the limitations of these formats? Do you have a target audience that you might like to use AR or VR with? What considerations would you need to make for your audience?

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