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Google I/O 2017: VR comes into focus in the classroom

This year, on behalf of Genius Plaza, I had the opportunity to attend Google I/O, an annual conference held in California, where Google shares their latest technology and advancements. This year proved no different, with advances in machine learning, Android and – more importantly for Genius Plaza – virtual reality. Google showed various technologies, including stand alone VR headsets and new ways of rendering incredibly lifelike scenes on high-end devices and common web browsers alike. Today I want to highlight three new developments we are excited about and hope to bring to a classroom near you!

Seurat Seurat!

Seurat is a new program that takes HD film quality 3D scenes and quickly allows them to be played on all kinds of mobile hardware. Google partnered with IMXLAB at Lucasfilm to showcase the technology; they took a high fidelity digital set from Rouge One, which was thousands of hours in the making, and compressed the assets from the set to run in real time on a headset.


Click to see a cool example

Exceeding Expeditions

Expeditions  is Google’s virtual reality app built for education. Expeditions AR allows teachers to set up descriptions and points of interest in VR to experience places around the world. With Expeditions AR, students can gather around the Statue of David, a strand of DNA, or even a Category 5 hurricane without leaving the classroom. Teachers guide their students using virtual reality viewers. This program was quite successful, and Google revealed they are opening up the app to developers to create experiences. At Genius Plaza, we are looking forward to testing Expeditions  to help students co-create content and share their local wonders with the world!

Click above to see why we’re so excited about Expeditions


Great Geniuses Think Alike

Google has been thinking a lot about VR experiences and how they work best, specifically in the classroom. The team at Google highlighted three themes of great VR experiences: immersive, interactive, and social. This mirrors 1:1 Genius Plaza’s approach to educating our students. By having our students watch content that is culturally relevant, share what they learn with each other, and reflect on the experience, we have created a cycle that encourages an immersive love of learning.

Google’s team has given us all great tools to push education forward. This quote by Seymour Papert shared by the Google team is a great reminder to keep our eye on the real goal: tapping into the genius that lives in every child.


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