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Virtual Reality Field Trips Produced by Georgia College Team

A new YouTube channel created by a professor and a graduate student of Georgia College enlivens the state’s tourist attractions for students, letting them gain vivid field trip experiences without stepping out of the classroom. VR technology being harnessed to aid teachers in raising student engagement.

According to Dr. Chris Greer, Instructional Technology at the Department of Learning and Innovation, Georgia College, the objective is to feature sites from all parts of Georgia. He hopes that all the sites can be made available to students and teachers at K-12 levels, and the public as well.

Dr. Greer, who has a YouTube channel named Virtual Reality Georgia, is among the first to project the spotlight on Georgia locations with virtual reality (VR) technology. Currently, the field trip sites featured on his channel include Andalusia and the Old Governor’s Mansion in Millegeville, Georgia, the Ocmulgee Tubman Museum and Indian Mounds in Macon, Cumberland Island’s Dungeness Ruins, Hardman Farm in Sautee Nacoochee, Thomasville’s Pebble Hill Plantation and Lapham-Patterson House, Smithgall State Park in Helen, and the Flint RiverQuarium in Albany.

The very realistic field trip footage is shot through a 360-degree video camera, enabling viewers to observe the entirety of their surroundings. It can be used by teachers to engage students. But, the 360-degree field trips are only part of the equation. Greer is optimistic about developing new learning opportunities with VR in domains like history and science.

Hannah Jones, a student graduate, assisted Greer in capturing and editing the footage. Jones graduated in 2018 with a special education degree from Georgia College, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in instructional technology.

Jones said that the filming crew picked were in search of the most appealing spots in every site. Some of these included a wide-angle view of a mansion, a place right next to an animal habitat, and room positions that yielded the most expansive views. She revealed that guides at each place are instructed to talk into the camera like third-grade students. The field trip videos can be viewed without donning VR goggles, although using the same drives up the immersive factor. It is a fact that many students in Georgia do not yet have access to VR goggles in classroom settings. Greer is optimistic that this scenario will take a turn for the better soon, eventually raising learner engagement.

VR field trips are the future? Image source: georgiacollege

Teachers require content to enable schools to use their headsets more often. This requirement is being met by Greer’s work. He had made a presentation of this VR project at a conference and was propositioned a collaboration offer by Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB). The videos created by Greer and Jones are set to go on the field trips website by the GPB.

Speaking about the collaboration with GPB, Greer said that their content can now be accessed by a wider audience. He emphasized that his team and GPB had the same objective of improving access to facilitate better education in Georgia. Greer and his College of Education students could further their technology ambitions with a grant.

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