(CBS NEWS) — Google is teaming up with hundreds of schools to take kids on field trips where no bus has ever gone.
Its new program, “Expeditions,” uses virtual reality to teleport students to far-flung places often seen in their textbooks, from the Great Wall of China to the surface of Mars. It’s part of a widening initiative not just in the U.S., but also in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, reports CBS News correspondent Vinita Nair.
One sixth grade science class plunged deep into Australia’s Coral Sea, getting 360-degree views of the Great Barrier Reef.
“Oh I see the scuba diver!” one excited student said.
The classroom scuba divers crisscrossed the planet to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, getting an up-close look at sea lions far below the surface of the ocean.
They paused to take notes, before losing themselves in the imagery again. Their teacher, Allison Davis, guided the tour from her tablet, stopping periodically to discuss what they were seeing.
“What tells us that the coral is thriving?” Davis asked the students.
“They’re really colorful…they’re not bleached or anything,” answered one student.
Davis says it’s a learning experience for both the student and the teacher, and believes her students are gaining a better understanding of her lessons.