Field trips used to be something between a picnic and an educational excursion. Google has given them a new virtual twist with the help of Google Hangouts. Google Plus has launched the Connected Classrooms initiative that will allow teachers and students alike to plan and conduct virtual field trips without the need to spend money or manage a large body of students. Virtual technology has already brought the world closer, and Connected Classrooms again shows how a social network can be used to change the old set ways of education.
The Connected Classrooms Community uses Hangouts on Air to connect classrooms with virtual field trips created by many educational partners on Google+. For instance, it could be a visit to the Seattle Aquarium one day, and a “visit” to the International Space Station the next. What’s really valuable is the across-the-board experience for students. The different learning experiences could cover conversations with experts, virtual tours, and even interactions with other classrooms across the globe. The Connected Classrooms site lists all upcoming field trips by the many educational partners. Each field trip could have 1-4 classrooms join the live Hangouts on Air events. The community website answers all the frequently asked questions in a PDF document (link to PDF).
The Connected Classrooms initiative could also be a valuable tool for teachers to draw up more exciting lessons around the events. The community could also be a place for educators to interact and share best practices for using digital tools in the classroom. For sure, it will be a boost for interactive education.
But what do you think? Is Google stealing a march by combining social media and education in today’s classrooms?
Source: Google Blog