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EXPERIENCE THE WORLD, WITHOUT LEAVING YOUR HOUSE

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By Trishna Buch
Have you ever wanted to see inside the eye of a hurricane?
Have you ever wanted to look at a bee, up close,
without worrying about getting stung? Have you ever
wanted to see a dinosaur, close enough to touch? Now,
what if I told you that you could experience all of this—
right from your home? Don’t think it’s too good to be true,
because it is soon going to be possible thanks to the
upcoming Google Expedition augmented reality application!
Our very own La Marque Middle School students were
chosen as testers for this application and on Tuesday
February 20 and Wednesday February 21, these fifth
through eighth graders got to spend either their Science
or Social Studies class experiencing the app to its fullest.
And all of the Life Skills students at the school—named
La Marque High School, but consisting of middle and
high-school students after the effects of Hurricane Harvey—
were also able to experience the wonders of augmented
reality.
My editor and I had the opportunity to visit the school
on Wednesday, talk to the teacher who set this entire experience
up and try out the application ourselves. When
we spoke to Danielle Davis, special education case manager
and inclusion teacher for the school, she told us that
the way they application works is that you scan a QR
code and then are able to project a 3D image on any
space in the room. When the students were experiencing
this in their classes, the teacher was in control of the augmented
reality tour; so the students only saw what she
wanted them to see. In Science classes, students were
able to look at forces of nature—such as hurricanes, tornadoes
and volcanoes; different body systems—such as
the reproductive system and parts of animals—such as
spiders; and much more. In social studies classes, students
were able to learn about the two wars and other
important historical events; among a plethora of interesting
learning experiences. This augmented reality could
be used as an excellent teaching method, not only because
students would be able to see things they could
not normally see, but also because teachers could use
the app to pull up facts about what the student is seeing
right there on the screen.
We also had the opportunity to try out the app. One
controlled the tour while the other was able to go inside
the eye of a hurricane, see the ocean floor and get very
close to a bee—all from a classroom inside the La Marque
High School building! And while we were exploring, Davis
was just jumping with excitement at the entire experience.
She told us how she had been trying for a while to
get the expedition to come to the school, and when they
were chosen to be the testers she “ran to the principal’s
office screaming ‘guess what, guess what, guess what!”
And Davis’ excitement was reflected in all of the teachers
and students we saw experiencing the augmented
reality, as they walked around their classrooms, talking
animatedly and gesturing excitedly at what they saw.
Now I’m sure you are all hoping to get your hands on
this augmented reality experience. And soon you will be
able too! While there is not yet a release date for the app,
once it’s out, you will be able to download it from your
phone or tablet. So hold on to your hats and get ready to
see the entire world from the comfort of your own home!

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