Launching first full 3-D virtual reality Google Expeditions


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Digital Explorer are proud to announce that the world of submarine exploration is being brought to millions of students around the world today via the Google Expeditions app. In total, seventeen stunning images of submarine exploration in three new expeditions now feature on the platform. As a world first, these will include full stereoscopic 360 degree views of the Nekton Mission to Bermuda.

These Google Expeditions are the combined work of a team including the Nekton Mission, and California-based virtual reality production company, VRTÜL, brought their specialist 30-camera GoPro rig. This is the only virtual reality camera capable of taking full stereo 360 degrees underwater and has previously only be used for commercial clients such as aquaria. With the support of the Google Expeditions team, the wonder of being able to view submarine exploration in 3D is now available to classrooms globally.

See a preview of the work in YouTube.

Digital Explorer, worked with the expedition and technical teams to design the online learning experience. Digital Explorer Director, Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop explains, “We want to create educational opportunities where students are learning from the frontiers of knowledge and the world. Making a journey to the Arctic or refugee camps in the Middle East is outside of the reach of most school trips and I don’t think I’ve ever heard of students diving in submersibles! Virtual reality makes it easy for students to encounter these places and meet the scientists and others working there from the comfort of the classroom. It’s a chance to change how young people learn from and engage with their world, while allowing educators to deliver the core curriculum.”

Nekton Mission Director, Oliver Steeds, explains the importance of finding new ways to bring the oceans to the classroom. “The ocean is the most critical and unknown frontier on our planet. By deploying the latest 360 camera rigs with divers and on our cutting-edge submersibles, we are able to inspire a new generation of young people to explore and learn about the ocean and help accelerate ocean literacy.”

It is an interesting time for virtual reality in the classroom. Early adopters are beginning to explore its potential. The challenge is how to ensure that this exciting technology becomes integrated into educators’ classroom practice and does not become yet another fad that blooms and then fades.

Nekton and Digital Explorer have further classroom resources in the pipeline that integrate virtual reality technologies such as Google Expeditions into core learning. Next time a 10-year-old student learns about the physics of forces, maybe they will have done so by ‘travelling’ 1,000 feet under the sea in a submersible.

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