Butterfield students went on virtual-reality field trips Friday. Photo by Adam Wolfe

Butterfield Elementary School was chosen to participate in the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program to allow the school’s students to go on digital field trips around the world.

The students were equipped with special “Expedition” viewers that utilized their motion to see more of the area. Students were able to get a full 360-degree view of landmarks in Rome, Egypt, the Grand Canyon and below the Pacific Ocean.

“It was really cool to see everything in 3D,” 11-year-old Luzmaria said.

The experience felt so real to some students they tried to reach out and touch the digital surroundings.

“I saw the Egypt pyramids, what types of sharks there is, and I saw the Grand Canyon,” 11-year-old Aeduardo said. “We used this type of machine where you put a camera in cardboard and then you look directly at it. You get to see everything there.”

According to Kim Foutz, teacher on special assignment, the program is intended to support students in their academic focus and provide opportunities with Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) in order to prepare students for college and future careers.

The virtual field trips will not replace any pre-planned travel for Butterfield students, but it does provide an opportunity for the students to briefly immerse themselves in new experiences and cultures. Whether they are seeing Rome or diving with sharks, Butterfield students have a unique opportunity to see more of the world.