Tesco has become the first brand to use Google’s Connected Classrooms platform in Europe, creating a unique programme of virtual field trips for UK schoolchildren powered by Google + hangouts. The Online Field Trips have been created by Tesco, working closely with teachers in line with the national curriculum and using Google+ technology, as part of the retailer’s Eat Happy project.
The Online Field Trip series launches today (Thursday 5 June), with a live interactive 30 minute lesson and Q and A session between UK primary schools and Giuseppe Di Martino, a pasta producer in Naples. The unique partnership between Google and Tesco was devised and delivered by Tesco’s digital agency Zone, as part of an ongoing remit across the Eat Happy brief.

Online Field Trips allow primary school children to learn about food by talking directly to food growers and producers both in the UK and worldwide, live from their own classroom – from the Italian countryside to the rice fields of India, cheese farms in Yorkshire and strawberry fields of Kent. Schools taking part will also be able to interact with other classes around the UK during the trip. Pioneered in the US, Connected Classrooms has been used by NASA to connect pupils to astronauts.

The Online Field Trips have been launched as new research published today shows that a cheaper way of giving children access to overseas field trips would be of huge benefit to parents, children and teachers. Three quarters of primary school teachers currently find cost a barrier to taking children on trips and over a third of UK parents of five to 11 year olds find it difficult to pay towards field trips for their children.
All resources for the initiative will sit on Tesco’s www.eathappyproject.com campaign hub, created by Zone.

Zone managing director Jon Davie said:
“Tesco’s ambitions for the Eat Happy Project are huge. Digital platforms like Google’s Connected Classrooms initiative allow us to deliver a unique educational experience to thousands of kids at the same time – something we simply couldn't replicate in the real world.”

Tesco UK Managing Director, Chris Bush, said:
“We know from talking to teachers that cost can be a real barrier to taking their pupils on field trips. We want to help by offering all UK primary schools the chance for pupils to make virtual visits to places they wouldn’t normally be able to go and learn more about the food they eat.

“We think these Online Field Trips will complement traditional school trips, such as our Farm to Fork Trails - 120,000 children have so far visited farms, factories and Tesco stores. The new online Trips mean even more children will get a better understanding of where their food comes from.
“We hope that what we’re doing will improve the next generation’s relationship with food, and help them go on to lead healthier lives.”

Marvin Chow, Global Marketing Director for Google+ said:
“We’re delighted to work with Tesco on their food education programme through Google+ Connected Classrooms to bring their virtual field trips to classrooms in the UK and globally via Google+ Hangouts. It's great to see a brand use Google+ technology to educate children on where food comes from, helping them develop a healthier relationship with it."
Notes to editors
· Online Field Trips are part of The Tesco Eat Happy Project, which launched at the end of February and saw Tesco open farms, factories and stores to primary schools around the country on Farm to Fork Trails.
· Tesco’s ambition is to give every primary school in the UK the opportunity to go on the Trails and Online Field Trips, to learn about where food comes from, and, through food, support learning across the wider curriculum.

Upcoming Online Field Trips include:
Thursday 5th June 2014 – ‘Perfect Pasta’ live from Naples, Italy.
Thursday 12th June 2014 – ‘Shimmering Sardines’ live from Newlyn, Cornwall.
Thursday 19th June 2014 – ‘Marvellous Mushrooms’ (location tbc)
Wednesday 27th June 2014 – ‘Cracking Cheese’ – live from The Wensleydale Creamery in the Yorkshire Dales.

Published on: 2:12PM on 5th June 2014