Will Russian hackers be first to play with a Google Cardboard lookalike from …

29 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google Virtual-Reality System Aims to Enliven Education.

The Expeditions Pioneer Program allows teachers to take their students on virtual fieldtrips around the world. As part of a class last year on “Romeo and Juliet,” Jennie Choi, an English teacher at Mariano Azuela Elementary School in Chicago, took her sixth-grade students on a tour of Verona, the Italian city where Shakespeare’s play transpires.Earlier this year at its I/O developer conference, Google announced ‘Expeditions,’ an app that lets teachers create synchronized virtual school trips using the company’s Cardboard virtual reality viewer.

Choi asked her class to examine the variegated facade of a centuries-old building, known on tourist maps as “Juliet’s House,” where the family that may have been the inspiration for the fictional heroine once lived. Starting Monday, schools can apply for a visit from a Google team that will provide kits including Cardboard units for each student, a tablet for teachers and a specialized router.

That’s at least the dream behind Google Expeditions, a 10-month-old project from the search giant that gives teachers virtual-reality tools to teleport students to some of the most intriguing destinations on this planet and others. Beginning Monday, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company will begin visiting thousands of schools in six states as well as in Australia, England and Brazil. Google developed the educational content in partnership with organizations like PBS, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the Planetary Society, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and The Starfish Foundation. Google has yet to say whether it has sales expectations with the program, specifically with regard to the unique teacher-focused content of the VR adventures. “Honestly, we haven’t gotten that far yet,” says Ben Schrom, product manager for Expeditions. “Classrooms are unique environments, especially when it comes to putting technology in them. Choi’s students tried out virtual-reality viewers — composed of cardboard and a cellphone — while their teacher used an app to guide them through stereoscopic vistas of the Italian town. “It doesn’t work to stand in a class of 12-year-olds and just lecture,” said Ms.

Choi, explaining that many students already had access to devices like smartphones, laptops and gaming systems and thus were accustomed to obtaining information immediately and visually. Choi jumped at Google’s offer to collaborate on a virtual excursion to Verona for her students. “I think they gained a deeper understanding of the story,” Ms.

You’ll get to keep your current user name (as long as it doesn’t contain invalid characters, in which case you’ll have to go through a few extra steps to make the transfer), and all your old comments will eventually (not immediately) migrate with you. The prison seamstress who helped two murderers escape from the Clinton Correctional Facility sobbed Monday as she was sent to the slammer for up to seven years.

Taking off her glasses and wiping away tears, Mitchell said she helped David Sweat and Richard Matt because she was afraid they would hurt her husband Lyle, who also works at Clinton. “I just don’t find that explanation credible,” Clinton County Court Judge Kevin Ryan told her and then imposed a sentence of 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison. Stereoscopic content displayed in a horizontal mode comes to live in two and three dimensions when using such basic phone holders, and represents an inexpensive way to access such media when compared to devices such as Samsung VR and the forthcoming and very pricey Oculus Rift VR goggles. Mitchell, who entered the courtroom in tears, left the same way after apologizing for her role in the “Shawshank Redemption”-style breakout on June 6 that stunned New York and the nation. The introduction of Google’s virtual-reality kits for classrooms highlights the growing importance of the education sector to major technology companies — and the mounting competition among them. In 2006, for instance, Google introduced Apps for Education, a bundle of cloud-based email, calendar and document-sharing products available free to schools.

But increasingly the Expeditions will feature 3-D video created by Google’s new Jump camera rig, which is a GoPro-produced product that holds 16 GoPro cameras all shooting at once, footage that Google then stitches into 3-D video that appears incredibly life-like. “I was in a ninth grade classroom recently and watched as the kids were able to really compare the architecture of the Duomo in Florence and the Pantheon in Rome,” says Expeditions program manager Jen Holland. “The teacher had come prepared to talk about this with some black and white photos she had printed out. Some leading tech companies have recently made a decision to focus on designing products specifically for classroom use, rather than simply modifying their existing consumer or enterprise products and then marketing them to schools. Meanwhile, stunned state corrections officials discovered Matt and Sweat had cut their way out of their adjacent cells to a catwalk and then crawled through an underground steam pipe to reach a street manhole beyond the prison walls.

Some teachers have for years used Microsoft’s Skype videoconferencing service to take students on tours of important places or to invite outside experts to virtually visit their classrooms. A prison guard, Gene Palmer, who authorities have said unwittingly abetted the escape plot, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of promoting prison contraband. A du Pont family heir who pleaded guilty nearly six years ago to raping his 3-year-old daughter was never put behind bars because a Delaware judge ruled he “would not fare well” in prison, court records show. The company is also using a 16-camera system, built by GoPro, to create three-dimensional images for the virtual excursions. “I would certainly see a scenario where we sell these kits to schools,” Mr.

Richards IV — scion of the family who built the chemical empire and kin to the co-founders of a prestigious law firm, Richards Layton & Finger — was given eight years probation and was ordered to seek treatment after being convicted of fourth-degree rape in 2008, the records show. Schrom said. “It depends on how successful we are at driving the costs down to an accessible place.” The Google kits available to schools contain the company’s cardboard viewers along with Asus smartphones to be used as virtual field-trip screens for students. Officials managed to keep the case away from the public spotlight until this month — when his ex-wife, Tracy Richards, filed a lawsuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages for abusing their daughter and son, the News Journal reported. The recently filed litigation claims that the father — who lives in a $1.8 million mansion near Winterthur Museum — raped his daughter, now 11, several times beginning in 2005, according to the newspaper.

Two years later, when the girl was 5 years old, she told her grandmother, Donna Burg, that she was being sexually abused by Richards, court documents show. It takes students to the former headquarters of Lehman Brothers and the offices of Goldman Sachs and federal regulators involved in the fiscal crisis of 2007-8. But he said he wanted to visually immerse his class in places that played important roles in the crisis to give them a more concrete feel for the potential impact of fiscal and monetary policies.

So far, in collaboration with teachers, Google has developed about 100 trips — including virtual visits to the Great Wall of China, Independence Hall in Philadelphia and El Capitan, a rock formation in Yosemite National Park — that have been tried out by math, science, social studies, language and other classes. The lawsuit claims that while taking another lie detector test in 2010, Richards allegedly told the examiner he began to sexually abuse his son in 2005 — when the boy was 19 months old.

Saying the abuse was “similar to what happened with his daughter,” Richards allegedly “promised that whatever I did to my son, I will never do it again,” the lawsuit said. “This self-confessed, admitted rapist and child abuser didn’t go to jail and, in fact, he stays in luxury where he’s always been,” said the lawyer, Thomas C.

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