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Bringing the world into the classroom

As any educator will tell you: telling your students about something is one thing, but being able to show them is another.

That’s the idea behind On Safari, the latest Google Expedition created by the NSW Department of Education and Taronga Conservation Society.

On Safari transports students to Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, NSW, where they can meet, interact with and learn about over 700 native and endangered animals, including elephants, wombats and rhinos.

Using virtual reality (VR) content, On Safari is an immersive experience that brings the wonders of the animal world directly to the classroom, bypassing the need to fill in lengthy forms and asking parents to pay costly excursion fees. The tour is also accompanied by curriculum-aligned learning resources.

There are already over 900 virtual reality (VR) tours to choose from and more than 100 augmented reality (AR) expeditions, covering everything from history, science, the arts and the natural world, and more than two million students around the world have enjoyed a Google Expedition experience. Google Expeditions also allows teachers to build to their own tour to fit their particular learning content.

“Google Expeditions is a valuable tool for future-focused learning. The ability to immerse students in a learning environment provides teachers with the ability to increase engagement and depth of understanding,” Wollongong teacher Jennifer Faulconbridge said.

Education Review spoke with Laurens Derks, learning designer from the NSW Department of Education, about Google Expedition’s potential in NSW classrooms and the rich learning experiences it provides across a range of subjects and year levels.

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