I’m a huge fan of Simon Sinek’s “Start with the why?” concept and the Golden Circle model that stems from it which is why it forms the backbone on which this new series on VirtualiTeach. Each edition will focus on a specific VR or AR app and break down the Why, How and What of its use in education. I hope that teachers find this approach useful and it helps them get to grips with some new tools.
First up – Google Tour Creator.
Empowering students to use technology to create content is a core element of 21st Century learning design. This new app from Google allows students to author and share 360° tours in the style of their core VR app Expeditions. Students (and educators) can produce sets of 360° images complete with information hotspots enriched with text, images or audio. The 360° images can be imported from a 360° camera but one of the best features of Tour Creator is the integration of Goolge Street View – meaning that thousands of 360s can be searched and included in a project. This provides great equity for schools and classrooms that are not able to produce their own 360° content or for projects based on locations that a class have not actually visited (e.g. for a history topic.)
Here's a short sample tour I made with some Dubai landmarks.
Tour Creator is free to use and you just need a Google account (with access to the Google Poly platform which is where the tours are stored.) Completed tours can be shared publicly or in an unlisted manner via URL. This of course could be easily turned into a QR code for sharing on a mobile device.
Tours can be viewed on any device and if they are opened on an Android or iOS phone, the stereoscopic Vr mode can be enabled, much like with 360° content on YouTube.
Watch the clip below to see how to put a tour together.
There are so many different ways that Tour Creator can be used by educators and their students.
Here are five different ideas from me for harnessingTour Creator in the classroom.
1. Create a virtual recount of a school trip.
If you have access to a 360° camera then you could capture the clips during the trip then share them to the students via cloud storage to allow them to composite their recounts. The points of interest would be where the students add the body of the recount – which could be written in advance, much like students have used apps like iMovie to bring writing to life in the past. It’s worth noting that many key historical sites/tourist attractions will have 360° images available via Street View.
2. Create a virtual quiz or comprehension task
The points of interest could easily be harnessed to embed questions onto a 360 image, whether these be text-based or audio in nature. You could build a tour that works as a comprehension task with questions about the location of the tour. For example a tour of the Colosseum could highlight the number of doors and then ask students to infer what they could have been used for. Students would not be able to answer within the app itself but could be provided with a companion worksheet or notebook to record their responses.
3. Build an historical tour
Using Tour Creator in the history classroom is an excellent idea. Of course the 360° images will all be from the modern day, but you can still use them to trace the path of historical events. In fact the chronological structure of the tours means that you can actually build a virtual timeline of key locations where events took place e.g. students could track the events of WW2 from inception to VE Day, using the points of interest to highlight the dates and the importance of the chosen locations.
Here's a nice example from the Expeditions team:
4. Create a 360° tour of your school
This has been possible for a few years now but never has it been so easy (or free) for schools to create bespoke 360° campus tours. These can be enriched with images of the students enjoying various activities, audio narration from staff and students and key details to help visitors, prospective parents and other members of the community to get a better understanding of life at your school.
5. Share your town or neighborhood with the world
Students can use Tour Creator to share information about the town they live in. This could then be shared with other students around the world, a twinned or paired school or even as a part of a Skype in the Classroom project.
Here's a nice clip from Google that demonstrates this concept really well:
Begin using Google Tour Creator for free by clicking here.