Idaho kids experience ‘augmented reality’

Bronson King looks inside of a beehive to get an in-depth perspective of the structure. He is learning how bees produce honey and why the flying insect is so important to Earth. Bronson is doing all of this while at his desk in English class.

The experience comes from Google Expeditions AR or augmented reality, and it came to West Junior High School as part of the technology company’s Pioneer Program, which is a sneak peek of the unreleased feature of Expeditions.

“This could be the future,” said the freshman. “I get a sense of reality and I feel that I’m learning.”

Differing from virtual reality, which typically uses a screen and headset to make users feel as if they’re in a different place, augmented reality overlays objects into the existing setting. Some examples include “Pokémon Go,” and Instagram filters.

Involving an Android phone attached to a selfie stick, students can explore different programs led and chosen by the teacher’s phone via QR codes. The 3D objects displayed on the screen are designed to bring subjects to life.

“I have technology pizazz in my teaching and I get goosebumps watching my students experience this type of learning,” said Karen Compton, an English teacher at West Junior High.

Google will visit 49 Idaho schools at no cost in the next seven weeks to be part of a beta testing group before Google releases the 3D educational tours.

During the testing phase, Google is seeking to enhance the virtual reality education version by adding special effects that will take a learner on a tour of subjects. Some of the tours include earthquakes, endocrine system, Mars and World War I.

“These students are digital learners and we need to acknowledge and prepare students for what is to come,” said Amanda Kuznia, an instructional technology specialist for the Boise School District. 

You can download the free Expeditions app here.

Take a look if Google plans to stop by your school:

  • 3/27 Pinehurst Elementary School
  • 3/28 Kellogg Middle School
  • 3/29 Kellogg High School


  • 4/2 St. Ignatius Catholic School
  • 4/3 Marsing Elementary School
  • 4/4 Amity Elementary School
  • 4/5 South Junior High School
  • 4/9 Hacker Middle School
  • 4/10 Bennett Mountain High School
  • 4/11 Mountain Home High School
  • 4/12 Mountain Home High School
  • 4/13 Mountain Home Junior High School
  • 4/16 North Elementary School
  • 4/17 West Elementary School
  • 4/18 East Elementary School
  • 4/19 Camas County High School
  • 4/20 Alturas Elementary School
  • 4/23 Wood River High School
  • 4/24 Wood River High School
  • 4/25 Wood River Middle School
  • 4/26 Wood River Middle School
  • 4/27 Bellevue Elementary School
  • 4/30 Community School


  • 5/1 Hemingway Elementary School
  • 5/2 Hailey Elementary School
  • 5/3 Carey School
  • 5/4 Richfield School
  • 5/7 Jerome Middle School
  • 5/8 Jerome High School
  • 5/9 Jerome High School
  • 5/10 Heritage Academy Public Charter School
  • 5/11 Harrison Elementary School
  • 5/14 Lincoln Elementary School
  • 5/15 Oregon Trail Elementary School
  • 5/16 Canyon Ridge High School
  • 5/17 Pillar Falls Elementary School
  • 5/18 Popplewell Elementary School
  • 5/22 Koelsch Elementary School

If you are you an educator interested in creating your own Expeditions, please sign up for the beta program here.


Andrew Reed

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