Get to grips with Google Expeditions

Find out how Google Expeditions can enhance teaching and learning in your classroom with this brief introduction, including lesson ideas

Oli Trussell

Explore the world without ever leaving your classroom using the Google Expeditions app

Are you a science teacher who’d dearly love to take your students to space? Or a geography teacher who’s keen for their class to explore the rainforests of Borneo? Forget about the pre-trip visits and risk assessments – the free Google Expeditions app will take you anywhere in the world (or even the human body!) without leaving the comfort of your classroom. And, to help you make the most of each trip, there are a whole host of related lesson plans ready for download on Tes.

What is a Google Expedition?

A Google Expedition is a virtual field trip. Teachers (or guides) explore collections of 360˚ and 3D images, packed full of information about the surroundings, as well as ideas for key questions (and suggested answers) to help to structure the experience.

There are around 450 Expeditions available on the app, including trips to places such as Machu Picchu and Antarctica, and even the circulatory system.

How do I use it in the classroom?

Each explorer should have access to a mobile device with a gyroscope – a quick online search will reveal whether your device has this or not – with the app downloaded onto it. Expeditions run best if each student also has a Google Cardboard and set of lenses, although it is possible for trips to take place without these in Magic Window mode.

From their own device, teachers lead the expedition by flicking between scenes and directing explorers to look at specific areas using an inbuilt marker. They also have the option to pause students’ screens while delivering instructions or simply to ensure they are on track.

Teachers from around the world have been sharing their lesson plans and accompanying resources on Tes, in order to take the learning beyond the app. Take a look at the entire lesson collection, or pick from one of these top downloaded lessons:

How can it enhance my teaching?

Google Expeditions help you to bring learning to life by immersing your class in an environment that is usually inaccessible. They differ from photos or videos by requiring pupils to stand and turn their heads and eyes to view scenes from different angles. The classroom all but disappears!

Expeditions can also help to ignite students’ natural curiosity, prompting them to ask more questions and take charge of their own learning. It really is an example of ed tech at its best and, as virtual reality is only set to improve over the next few years, it could be the start of an amazing journey for your school.

What's next?

Watch this space for more blog posts featuring lesson highlights and supporting resources related to specific subject areas. In the meatime, why not find out how other teachers are using Google Expeditions in their classrooms on Twitter?

Quick links

#GoogleExpeditions lesson plans

Oli Trussell (@olivertrussell) is a Google Certified Innovator and Trainer. He teaches part-time at a school in Buckinghamshire and runs schoolsmartcloud, offering training as well as product creation and solutions built on G Suite for Education.