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GEMS tests Google's new Augmented Reality software

GEMS World Academy Chicago students and teachers got the chance to test the new Google Expeditions Augmented Reality software this week.

Augmented Reality allows for the virtual exploration of objects and environments in three dimensions. GEMS students in grades 1 through 9 used the software to supplement inquiries in science, humanities, math and art.
“Our teachers were able to use this new 3-D teaching tool as a way to invite students to look carefully and inquire at form, structure and function of DNA, animal camouflage, the math behind inventions and the solar system,” GEMS Director of Innovation Peg Keiner said.
Here’s how it works: Users aim an Android device equipped with the AR software at a bar code, which triggers a digital 3-D model to appear on the phone’s screen. Then, by physically moving around the room while holding the device, users can explore the object up close, from far away and around all sides.
Teachers placed multiple bar codes around our testing rooms; the codes produced the same image on all the devices, but from slightly different perspectives, giving students a variety of vantage points from which to begin their explorations.
Our seventh-graders used Google Expeditions AR to explore different vehicles – tanks, ships, aircraft – that were deployed in combat during World War II. Ninth-grade students used the system to delve inside a strand of DNA. Other students explored planets in the solar system.
Google is pioneering the AR software in schools around the country. A few years ago, GEMS tested the Google Expeditions Virtual Reality program, which immerses users in different environments.

These testing sessions are part of GEMS World Academy Chicago’s commitment to student inquiry and staying at the forefront of emerging thought and practice in education. See photos and a short video from the testing below:


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