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Croton-Harmon Students 'Travel' Around the World With Google Expeditions

Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School students use Google’s new Expeditions Pioneer Program as a learning tool.
Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School students use Google’s new Expeditions Pioneer Program as a learning tool. Photo Credit: Contributed

CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- Every student at Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School 'visited' a foreign destination on Nov. 17 without leaving the classroom as part of Google’s new Expeditions Pioneer Program.

The school is part of Google’s global test of the initiative, which offers viewers the chance to use the Expeditions Pioneer Program application, along with a tablet, smartphone and a cardboard/lens case to explore destinations like Mars, historic cities around the globe and even travel underwater in a 3-D environment.

Students were impressed as they visited places like Barcelona, Mexico, the Great Wall of China and the Palace of Versailles with their foreign language classes, while social studies and science classes explored landforms and robots across the globe from their seats.

“This is authentic learning at its best,” said Deborah August, Croton-Harmon School District director of technology. “Through these virtual journeys, students are exploring new destinations with a 360-degree view and traveling through the 21st century without ever leaving their desks.”

Students identified landmarks as they explored the various scenes, even reaching out to try and touch works of art in museums and walk through famous athletic stadiums across the globe.

Administrators and teachers also had the opportunity to test out the program while offering students information and answering their questions as they embarked on the expeditions.

“It really has an interdisciplinary application,” said Superintendent of Schools Edward Fuhrman, who added he could see the 200-plus expeditions offered by Google apply to every area of learning. “Our students are so visual, and this comes so naturally to them. It makes them want to do more and to see more; it really creates a dialogue and a dynamic learning experience.”

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