Google Brings “Hamilton” to the Classroom


Orpheum Theatre

Starting at 300 dollars and reaching the thousands, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘Hamilton’ is a pricey ticket. Google’s more public-spirited company gave 5,000 high school students across the country a great opportunity to see Hamilton: An American Musical. This is all thanks to an $800,000 grant from Google in collaboration with Gilder- Lehrman Institute.

Of course Google wants to help children but the real reason why they are doing this is to make some money. “Google is hoping that its virtual reality Expeditions program can cause students to more easily identify with historical events by taking on different viewpoints.”

What I gather from this article is that Google paid for some student to go on a trip to see Hamilton and see how they learn before they launch their new virtual reality platform for learning. It seems like it will be great for bringing great experiences like seeing ‘Hamilton’ to the classroom. Bringing a virtual museum or special event to a school without having to take them on a field trip could be very beneficial and cost effective if that’s what Google and schools plan on doing.

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Google brings ‘Hamilton’ experiences to students in the theater and virtual reality


Virtual Reality Makes Its Way to the Classroom

Can you imagine learning American history or biology through virtual reality goggles? Nearpod Inc., a startup focused on making education software, supplied 10,000 schools across the nation with the equipment necessary for a virtual reality lesson.



Nearpod wants school boards to consider this: instead of purchasing textbooks, clickers, headsets, and other hardware, Nearpod wants districts to rely on district-supplied electronics. The problem is however, most teachers still haven’t made the transition to using SMART Boards, or simply don’t want to use them. “Many teachers are apprehensive about incorporating virtual reality, and technology in general, into their classrooms,” said Nearpod CEO Guido Kovalsky.

A study conducted in Canada shows that out of 1,100 teachers surveyed, only half use interactive boards regularly. In addition, nearly three- quarters of teachers reported having technical difficulties using SMART Boards yet students absolutely love interactive boards according to the same study.


One of the big things virtual reality will do for students is let them experience immersive, 360-degree images to enhance learning and take learning about the subject to the next level. Brandon Farwell, a Nearpod investor, says, “Once teachers have tried virtual reality with their classes, they will realize it opens up their students’ imaginations to the world beyond their textbooks.”



First and second-grade students exploring Mars.

This is crucial especially in elementary and middle schools, where reading isn’t one of the strongest abilities of a student. Another problem with textbooks is that they get outdated so quickly. Virtual reality lessons can be updated easily online with software. A middle-school science teacher, Susan Oltman, even told NPR in an interview that outdated science textbooks put a burden on teachers to do their own research and put in extra time to remain up-to-date.

An 11th-grade French teacher in San Francisco, Kenneth Mendribil, recently tested Nearpod’s product and noticed that his students were more likely to turn in their assignments to the Nearpod app.

Mendribil’s experience with Nearpod’s virtual reality electronics is a perfect example of how virtual reality can enhance engagement and performance in the classroom.



Schools are now seeing great use of virtual reality in the classroom

After the hype from the creation of Oculus Rift (now owned by Facebook), the world began to wonder if the big future tech was going to be virtual reality, especially after seeing Microsoft’s demos for its HoloLens.  Trying to use this literally life altering technology for even greater applications is now becoming a possibility with education.

Enhancing the ways of learning for children has been a focal point for certain subjects such as biology, anatomy and architecture. Multiple VR start-ups are going to allow 3-D interactive learning not only possible, but affordable.  Projections by Citi Bank’s Kota Ezawa state that this is the year for the virtual reality market to boom; the technology is getting cheaper ($20-99 per headset). Education is already starting to shift to incorporate new technology into the classroom with the use of iPads and Chromebooks, and VR is the next step.

Virtual reality is going to bring an immersive education to students not only on a local level, but also has the capability to explore the world more visually.  What would you want to see first with virtual reality? Paris? The Mayan ruins?  Be ready for children to have a whole new way to experience reality.


When Virtual Reality Meets Education