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Google via YouTube

Google is Bringing Free Virtual Reality Field Trips to Schools

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Google via YouTube

Field trips are a great way to bring kids into the worlds they hear about in the classroom. But for students in the Bronx learning about Aztec ruins in Mexico, that was easier said than done. That is, until Google tested their new virtual reality technology at the Bronx Latin School in New York City, giving students the chance to scope out the view from atop Chichen Itza and study ancient carvings at Tenochtitlan—all without ever leaving their school. 

The test run was part of the Google Expeditions initiative, which aims to bring free virtual reality field trips to students in the U.S., the UK, New Zealand, Australia, and Brazil. The technology uses a smartphone inside a cardboard viewing shell that displays images from Google Street View. The pictures move when viewers turn their heads, creating the illusion of a 3D environment.  

Teachers interested in bringing of the program to their classrooms can apply at Google Expeditions' website. Spots are limited, and Google says they plan to only visit schools where at least six teachers have signed up. Kits include everything the teachers need to conduct their virtual field trips, including cardboard goggles or Mattel View-Masters, ASUS smartphones, and a tablet for teachers to organize trips. 

The materials are relatively cheap to produce, and the kits could one day become a fixture in classrooms around the world. Studies have shown that virtual reality forges a deeper connection between pupils and the material that’s being taught than traditional learning alone. With access to virtual reality in the classroom, students can look forward to tours of Independence Hall, the Great Wall of China, or even a casual trip to Mars when they walk into school each day.

[h/t: Wall Street Journal]

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MasterClass
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Attention Aspiring Filmmakers: Martin Scorsese Is Teaching an Online Class
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MasterClass

Since launching his career 50 years ago, Martin Scorsese has inspired countless fans to get into the moviemaking business. Now aspiring directors looking for a place to start can receive guidance from the legendary director himself. Beginning early next year, Martin Scorsese will lead his own filmmaking course through the online education platform MasterClass.

MasterClass is best known for offering classes taught by instructors who have already risen to the top of their respective fields. An architecture course from Frank Gehry, a music composition course from Hans Zimmer, and a tennis course from Serena Williams are just a few of the listings in the catalog. The company has also recruited several famous filmmakers in the past, including Aaron Sorkin and Werner Herzog, but Scorsese—the iconic director behind such classics as Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), and Goodfellas (1990) is in a league of his own.

Scorsese’s MasterClass includes more than 20 video lessons that pupils will be able to watch at their desired pace. They will also have the chance to upload their own videos and receive feedback from classmates, with Scorsese answering select questions.

"I was excited by this project because it gave me a chance to pass down my own inspirations and experiences and practices and evolutions,” the Oscar-winning director said in a release. “It was so important for me to have people that passed down their own knowledge when I was young, and MasterClass has given me an opportunity to try it myself.”

Prospective students can pre-enroll for $90 today to receive unlimited access to the course when it goes live in 2018.

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Graduates in These States Fare Best When It Comes to Student Debt
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Student loan debt in the U.S. grows larger each year. According to CNBC, the average American in their 20s with student loans to pay off owes about $22,135. But college graduates from some states have it easier than those from others. As Money reports, choosing the right state in which to get your education may end up saving you $16,000 in loan payments.

That number comes from the latest student debt study [PDF] from the Institute for College Access and Success. The organization looked at four-year public and private nonprofit colleges to determine the states where debt levels skew low and where they creep into $30,000-plus territory. Graduates who study in Utah have it the best: 57 percent of students there graduate without debt, and those who have debt carry burdens of $19,975 on average. Behind Utah are New Mexico, California, Arizona, and Nevada, all with average debt loads of less than $25,000 a student.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is New Hampshire, where new graduates are sent into the workforce with $36,367 in debt looming over their heads. Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and Minnesota all produce average student debts between $31,000 and $36,000. And though graduates from West Virginia don't owe the most money, they are the most likely to owe any money at all, with 77 percent of students from the state racking up some amount of debt. The variation from state to state can be explained by the types of colleges that are popular in each region. The Northeast, for example, is home to some of the country's priciest private colleges, while students in the West are more likely to attend a public state school with lower tuition.

If you've already received a degree from an expensive school in a high-debt state, you can't go back in time and change your decision. But you can get smart about tackling the debt you've already accumulated. Check out these debt-busting strategies to see if one is right for your situation.

[h/t Money]

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