Virtual field trips have been around in schools almost as long as Internet has been in the classroom. Before there were fast connections in schools and video applications that could handle streaming environments, a virtual field trip to a location like a museum or outdoor site could an unpleasant technological experience.
But things have improved.
A new Apps for Education, back in 2006 with cloud-based email, calendar and document-sharing products available free to schools. Google's field-trip simulation system, called Expeditions, will also be free to schools as part of a company effort to further develop the technology.
Microsoft is also in the education market with its own email, calendar, Skype and other software. and they have also introduced new products like the note-taking app called OneNote Class Notebook.
Google Expeditions is very much designed for classroom use, rather than being an existing consumer/enterprise products like Skype being marketed to schools.
Google Classroom is another free app (to create, collect and comment on student assignments) that was made for schools. And don't count out the juggernaut that is Facebook which has tried classroom connections before and had engineers working with schools in California on adaptive learning software to customize to individual students.
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