How I Use It
I can see Google Cardboard having applications within the middle school classroom. The content is engaging and definitely brings the "wow factor" needed to capture the attention of young teenagers. I could see this product easily being incorporated into a science or social studies class, and maybe even a language arts classroom. Taking students on virtual field trips to visit the places we are learning about would absolutely be a benefit. However, as a math teacher, I am struggling to consider applications for this tool in my middle school classroom.
I really like the interactive, engaging nature of technology such as Google Cardboard. The challenges I see in its implementation are not without merit though. First, while the expense of purchasing one unit is not significant, in order to use Google Cardboard in the classroom, there is a substantial financial burden to purchase the headsets and the appropriate technology to use. Secondly, as a very experienced math teacher with expertise crossing multiple grade levels and a vested interest in technology integration, I truly am struggling to see an application for my students. Could I come up with ways that other classroom teachers could use this technology? No doubt. But from my perspective, it doesn't bring much to the table in terms of helping to enhance the math experience for my students. Additionally, while I was impressed with the variety of ways you can use this tool, I did find myself getting slightly nauseous while using the application, even during the introductory tour. I found that every option I tried (YouTube 360, Google Cardboard, Earth, and other apps suggested following the tour) was not able to focus in a way that I saw a clear picture. The result was that I had to take breaks every five minutes. I am not one who typically suffers from motion sickness of any kind, but for some reason, I felt totally off after using this tool. While this may not be the case for all users, teachers should be wary of medical conditions of students in their class that may not be known, prior to investing in this technology.
Overall, I think that this technology has a place in the classroom, however, I am not sure that we are at the point yet where I would be comfortable saying that this is a "must have." I did enjoy using Google Cardboard, but the way I currently see it, there are still several challenges that must be considered before this becomes a staple in American classrooms.