As part of a class last year on “Romeo and Juliet,” Jennie Choi, an English teacher at Mariano Azuela Elementary School in Chicago, took her sixth-grade students on a tour of Verona, the Italian city where Shakespeare’s play transpires.
During the excursion, Ms. Choi asked her class to examine the variegated facade of a centuries-old building, known on tourist maps as “Juliet’s House,” where the family that may have been the inspiration for the fictional heroine once lived. She also encouraged her sixth graders to scrutinize the deteriorated tomb where they could imagine the Juliet character had died.
But the students did not have to leave their Chicago classroom to take in the play’s Italian backdrop. Instead, as part of a pilot project for a new Google virtual field trip system for schools, Ms. Choi’s students tried out virtual-reality viewers — composed of cardboard and a cellphone — while their teacher used an app to guide them through stereoscopic vistas of the Italian town.
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