How to Find & Use Google Expeditions in Arts & Culture

a black and white virtual reality headset on the grass
Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

When Google brought an end to Expeditions in the summer of 2021, it came as a blow to the educators who had enjoyed using these virtual tours in their classrooms. Instead, the the majority of the tours were moved to Google Arts and Culture, and that’s where you will find them today. Here’s a quick look at how to find (and use) Google Expeditions with students in Google Arts and Culture.

Why Did Google Retire Expeditions?

In a blog post published at the end of 2020, Google said they “recognize that immersive experiences with VR headsets are not always accessible to all learners.” I think you could read that statement in a couple of different ways, but there is no denying that from an equity standpoint, the equipment needed to create a dedicated VR experience is expensive and not without ongoing maintenance costs.

Where Are Google Expeditions in Arts and Culture?

Google Arts and Culture is a great educational website, but it has a lot of content. Navigating that content can be challenging, especially if you are not sure what you are looking for. Here are the steps to finding Google Expeditions in Arts and Culture.

  1. Navigate to artsandculture.google.com
  2. Click the Menu icon in the top left-hand corner
  3. Click Themes
  4. Scroll down and click on Arts and Culture Expeditions
Screenshot of the Expeditions sorted by subject on the Arts and Culture website

How to Find an Expeditions Tour

As you scroll through the Expeditions page on Arts & Culture, you will notice that the tours are grouped by various themes. The themes include:

  • Curricular areas
  • Countries
  • Nature
  • Iconic sites
  • Architecture
  • Celebrations

You can also use the search bar to find a tour. Simply enter the keyword you are looking for and add the word “expeditions” on the end. For instance, searching for “pyramids expeditions” reveals five online exhibits with virtual tours.

How to Save Expeditions Tours

Sometimes you will want to use the same tour with multiple classes, or you might want to use it every year you teach a given topic. For times like this, Google lets you create a collection of your favorite tours.

At the top of every tour are some sharing icons. One of them is a heart. If you click the heart, you add a tour to your Favorites. You can access all your Favorites from the menu in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

To sort your Favorites, you can create a Gallery. A Gallery is like a folder that you can use to sort your most used tours by subject, location, artist, or whatever you desire. Click Favorites from the menu in the top right-hand corner, and click Galleries to create your groups.

screenshot of the Egypt Expeditions tour on the Google Arts and Culture website

How to Share Expeditions Tours

Next to the heart icon at the top of an Expeditions tour are the rest of your sharing options. There are shortcut buttons for copying the link as well as sharing the tour on Facebook and Twitter. However, if you click the last sharing icon, you will see additional options, including the ability to share to Google Classroom.

When students click the link to the tour in Google Classroom or an LMS like Canvas, they will be taken directly to it and won’t have to spend time searching or looking for the right one.

How to Guide Students on an Expeditions Tour

One of Google’s concessions when they moved Expeditions to Google Arts and Culture was that teacher-guided tours were removed. Students now need to work through a tour on their own. They can scroll vertically through the scenes and click and drag on the 360 images to pan left and right.

If you are looking for an experience more similar to the original Google Expeditions, try ExpeditionsPro. It has free accounts for teachers and promises to pick up where Google Expeditions left off. Currently, it’s available for Android devices with an iOS app listed as coming soon.

screenshot of the ExpeditionsPro website

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