Google is opening up new opportunities for teachers and students across the globe with its latest educational initiative, Connected Classrooms. Rolled out on the Google+ platform, the new online service allows students to virtually explore various places of interest far away from their physical locations—like famous zoos, aquariums, planetariums, museums and more at no cost.
The initiative debuted on November 4 with the virtual trips to the Seattle Aquarium, the Minnesota Zoo and the Solar Impulse hangar. Those who were not in the classroom during the virtual trip, can now watch the videos just like a usual Google+ Hangout. Virtual field trips are available for any class upon request—K-12 teachers can apply here.
The future virtual field trips will be taking students to the three locations mentioned above, plus will bring President Kennedy into the classroom and connect the students with the EarthEcho International non-profit environmental education organization. These classes are slated for early November, with more to come. New virtual field trips will be hosted by a range of institutions including National Geographic, Matilda the Musical, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and more than 20 other partners.
The company also encourages teachers to join a Google+ Community to connect with other educators—together they can collaborate on field trips, suggest ideas on how to use digital tools in the classroom to enhance learning, and more.
The new initiative continues Google’s educational commitment to help spread knowledge regardless of borders and regimes. As part of this multi-year program, Google launches educational Hangouts themed around exploring a world famous art museum, a theatrical experience and venturing into space, and also expands its Art Project that allows to see legendary masterpieces in detail.