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Google to bring VR-based learning tools to UK schools

18/11/2016 Joanna

Technology giant Google has unveiled a new scheme that aims to deliver virtual reality-powered learning tools to British schools.

The new Google Expeditions Pioneer Programme aims to introduce one million school pupils across the UK to VR technology, while also providing teachers with training and resources to help them incorporate VR into their curriculums.

A number of VR platforms have been launched during the last year, with Google's Cardboard and Daydream headsets eschewing expensive dedicated technology in favour of simple headsets that can be used in conjunction with existing smartphones to provide a more affordable, accessible approach.

During his first visit to the UK, Google's chief executive officer Sundar Pichai outlined the details of the Expeditions Pioneer Programme, which will use Google technology to help teachers take their classes on virtual field trips, viewing panoramas of museums, underwater environments or even outer space through their VR headsets.

Google Expeditions teams will be visiting schoolchildren in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Newcastle and Inverness over the next few months to introduce the concept, while other schools that also wish to take part can sign up online for free.

It is hoped that the advent of VR will provide teachers with new opportunities to engage students with subjects in a way that has not previously been possible.

Mr Pichai said: "VR can spark students' imagination and help them learn about topics like how blood flows through the human body or the impact climate change is having on the Great Barrier Reef, in an engaging and immersive way.

"We've already received feedback from thousands of teachers in the UK and they believe that Expeditions can improve literacy and writing skills, and help create excitement to complement traditional teaching methods."

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