Georgia College Team Creates Virtual Reality ‘field Trips’.

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Georgia College Team Creates Virtual Reality ‘field Trips’

March 02, 2020 08:00 ET | Source: Georgia College and State University

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The 360-degree camera being used to capture footage at Cumberland Island, Georgia.

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Dr. Chris Greer, professor of instructional technology at Georgia College, and graduate student Hannah Jones working with the 360-degree camera.

Milledgeville, March 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A Georgia College professor and graduate student have created a new YouTube channel that brings-to-life tourist locations across the state, allowing students of all ages to enjoy field trips— without leaving the classroom.

“The end game is to have sites from all over Georgia. From state parks to museums, we hope to make these sites available to K-12 teachers and students, as well as the general public,” said Dr. Chris Greer, Instructional Technology in Georgia College’s Department of Learning and Innovation.

His YouTube channel, Virtual Reality Georgia, is one of the first to highlight locations in Georgia using virtual reality (VR). So far, field trip sites include the Ocmulgee Indian Mounds and Tubman Museum in Macon, Georgia’s Old Governor’s Mansion and Andalusia in Millegeville, Smithgall State Park in Helen, Pebble Hill Plantation and Lapham-Patterson House in Thomasville, Flint RiverQuarium in Albany, Hardman Farm in Sautee Nacoochee and Dungeness Ruins on Cumberland Island.

The technology in these realistic field trips—created with a 360-degree video camera that allows viewers to see all around them—can help teachers engage students. Field trips are only a start. Greer also hopes to create new learning opportunities in topics like science and history, using VR.

Graduate assistant Hannah Jones helped Greer film and edit footage. She graduated from Georgia College in 2018 with a degree in special education and is pursuing a master’s in instructional technology.

“For the videos, we look for the most engaging spot—whether that means next to an animal habitat, a wide angle of a mansion or placed to see as much of the room as possible,” Jones said. “We try to tell every guide to talk to the camera like a group of students in third grade.”

The videos can be watched without VR goggles, but the experience is much more immersive with them. VR isn’t new technology any longer. Yet, many students in Georgia still lack access to goggles in the classroom. Greer believes that’ll change, as schools continue to search for innovative ways to engage learners.

To get schools using headsets frequently, teachers need content. And that’s where his work comes in. Last fall, Greer presented the project at a conference and was approached by Georgia Public Broadcasting to collaborate. Now the videos Greer and Jones put together will also be featured on GPB’s virtual field trips website.

“This helps us get our content out to a broader audience quickly,” Greer said about the GPB partnership. “They have a common goal— it’s all about access to benefit education in Georgia.”

This isn’t Greer’s first time bringing learning opportunities to students through technology. He also created a digital textbook with Apple on Georgia State Parks and will soon publish a travel book on Georgia. A new grant will help create a space for Greer and his students in the College of Education to use this and other cutting-edge technology.

“I wanted to work with Dr. Greer on Virtual Reality Georgia,” Jones said, “because I knew this was brand new technology and that it could help educators and students around the state. I also wanted to experience a different side of education.”

“Dr. Greer has been a great mentor in my life,” she said. “He has pushed me to explore different opportunities during my degree, such as taking a graphic design course and a photography course. Working with him on this project has been an absolutely wonderful experience, and I am beyond grateful.”

Cindy O'Donnell Georgia College and State University 478-508-2599 [email protected]

Georgia College and State University

Milledgeville, Georgia, UNITED STATES

  http://www.Gcsu.Edu/

Cindy O'Donnell Georgia College and State University 478-508-2599 [email protected]

The 360-degree camera being used to capture footage at Cumberland Island, Georgia.

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Dr. Chris Greer, professor of instructional technology at Georgia College, and graduate student Hannah Jones working with the 360-degree camera.

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