A couple of years ago I played around with an iPad app that allowed you to create a virtual art gallery. The app (3D Gallery) allowed you to import images to place on the gallery walls then use a touchscreen interface to move around and view them. It was basic but effective though it lacked a lot of features that could have elevated it (like the ability to screencast or share the gallery.) I featured it in one of my all-time favourite features over on iPad Educators – my Banksy themed project Exit Through The App Store.
Flash forward to the present and I recently came across an app called Roomful. At first it seemed like an updated version of the old gallery app but it’s so much more than that and it brings the virtual gallery concept into VR for the first time.
You can customise the space by selecting from a range of preset design themes and even drop in additional objects like tables, chairs and other furnishings. You can also extend the room space itself to incorporate more images in your gallery. The images you import can be added to the walls using a simple drag and drop interface and then easily resized or repositioned as desired. Each image can also have additional information and hyperlinks tagged to it. You can also import YouTube links but be aware that in the current build of Roomful, these cannot be played directly within the virtual space but rather open full screen when clicked.
Once you’ve built your gallery you can then invite others to enter it in virtual reality using a mobile headset. Visitors can then leave comments and feedback on your gallery!
You may have noticed in that clip that you can also add a storyline to your gallery – in other words you can create a guided tour that leads visitors through in a specific order. Its another great touch and a sign of a well-considered development.
I’ve been playing around with the app for a few days now and it really is impressive. Here’s a little screencast I produced, putting a gallery together.
And here is the link to the gallery itself which you can check out for yourselves:
If you grab the free Roomful app, you can enter my little test room in VR. Note that I’ve updated it since making the video so there’s a lot me to see in there now!
Being able to create a VR gallery is a tool with a lot of potential for the classroom. A few ideas for using Roomful could include:
- Students could create a gallery of artwork as an individual or share images to an educator to create a virtual gallery of a single project. The link to this gallery could then be shared to other students, family members or even to the wider education community for feedback.
- A gallery of outstanding achievements/special work could be collated with students striving to produce something that earns a spot in the gallery. Again, this could be shared with the global education community for feedback.
- Using the guided tour feature, a student could create a timeline of events either from an historical event or perhaps to sequence the events from a book.
- An educator could share information about a topic or a set of supporting materials to the students this way. These could be hyperlinks to further information.
Find out more about Roomful here:
Download the app on iOS here.