Montgomery County students enter Google's virtual reality

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Virtual reality came to a Montgomery County school, courtesy of Google. (WPVI)

Virtual reality came to a Montgomery County school, courtesy of Google, and it appears the kids gave the experience an A+.

High above in outer space or plunging to the depths of the deep blue sea, a virtual field trip for students Monday at Pine Road Elementary in Huntingdon Valley.

All they had to do is pick up one of these.

"Not just looking at one picture; you actually feel like you're there," third grader Brinda Dass said.

"I thought we were just going to look at pictures like in a book, but when I saw it, I was like 'this is awesome,'" third grader Alex Volterano said.

Third through fifth graders took turns trying out the technology.

It's part of Google's Expedition Pioneer Program, where for a year they're showcasing this equipment for free at hundreds of different schools.

There's a phone inside a cardboard viewer. Teachers can load up more than 100 different scenes from the Great Barrier Reef to the Great Wall of China and guide a tour on their tablets.

"While you're in it, the teachers help you to tell what you're seeing," third grader Briana McFerran said.

"I think it's a great way to give kids have a hands on experience, get to see what they're learning about," teacher Nicole Hershey said.

360 degree photo spheres, 3D images and video, and ambient sounds make it seem like you're there.

Teachers decide how they want to apply this tool to their curriculum.

"These kids have grown up with technology. They're digital natives; they've had it since the moment they're born. They've come to expect it. So any opportunity to engage them with technology is something that we try to do," Principal Brian Swank said.

Google will eventually charge schools, but there's no word yet on what the price tag will be.

Google is piloting the program now by visiting schools all over the world.

To learn more about the possibility of visiting your school, visit
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