In late 2015 Nearpod integrated VR filed trips into their amazing presentation platform. As one of the original Nearpod Pionears, I was invited to contribute content to the launch of this new venture.
Here are some details of about the three lessons I published for them:
The Burj Khalifa
The tallest building in the world and the one that Tom Cruise loves to dangle from. The Burj Khalifa was a perfect subject for my first virtual trip. I did consider several other locations here in Dubai but the fact that 360 Cities included panoramas from both the base and the top of this spectacular tower made it an unbeatable choice for me.
Now I just had to figure out what sort of lesson to build around it. At first I was heading ina mathematical direction - looking at stats and records that the tower boasts. In the end though I went down a totally different path and created a lesson using the virtual tour panoramas as stimuli for writing. Students experience the building from both places and use the sights and feelings that they are exposed to, to help them generate some descriptive writing.
Nearpod liked the concept and delivery... so much that they asked if I'd be up for producing another one! This left me with a dilemma - How could I top the world's tallest building...
This is where having prior knowledge of 360 Cities paid off to be honest because I knew that they had panoramas from the Mars Rover on there (a Year 2 student and I explored them briefly last year in the app.) So off to Mars we go for lesson 2! The content developed organically this time as the rover's mission was primarily to determine the potential for life on the red planet - so I used this as the learning focus. Students have to learn more about the rover and answer some quiz questions about it before taking two virtual tours of Mars to evaluate the planet's potential to sustain life. As such they have to engage critical thinking skills such as inference to make their judgements.
For the third lesson I turned to one of my all time favourite school topics - Ancient Egypt. I searched through the app to find some relevant content and was pleased to locate panoramas from both outside and inside the tomb of pharaoh Ramesses VI. The activities included in this lesson saw students make observations about the pyramid itself and the hieroglyphics found inside.
This year I was lucky enough to be able to use this lesson myself with some Year 3 students who enjoyed the session immensely. So much so that we had to use Nearpod's homework tool to provide access to it again for them at home! The students used iPads for the session but I had 4 Nearpod Cardboard headsets with iPod Touches available so I added four fake students to the session (called Headset 1, Headset 2 etc) and when it came to the Vr elements, the kids passed the headsets around so everyone had a go:
Nearpod now has over 100 VR enriched lessons available and they can be found here: https://nearpod.com/s/nearpod-vr-F684