Virtual reality is all the rage right now. Teachers are using tools like Google Cardboard and Google Expeditions to virtually send their students on trips around the world to learn and engage in content in ways that were otherwise unimaginable. Students don't have to just be consumers of this technology though. They can very easily create their own virtual field trips with a few simple tools.
If you want to be really fancy, you can buy a Ricoh Theta S camera to take 360 degree photos in a flash. If your students are like mine, most of them probably don't have $350 to spend on a 360 degree camera, but they probably have a smart phone. A smart phone with a decent camera on it and Google Street View can take good quality 360 degree photos- it just won't be completed as quickly.
To capture a 360 degree photo, students simply download the Google Street View app and click the Camera button. Once that button is clicked, a yellow/orange dot will appear on your screen. Line your circle up with this dot and you will notice that the dot starts to turn white; this means that the image you are focused on is being captured. Once your first image is captured, more dots will appear on your screen. You will need to continue lining up your circle with these dots to capture every angle for your 360 degree photo. Once your photo is captured, you will see a green dot with a check-mark appear on your screen indicating that your 360 degree photo has been captured. Click the check-mark and Google will begin stitching your photos together into one 360 degree image.
Once you have your photo-spheres, you then need to create an account on Holobuilder. Holobuilder allows users to upload photo-spheres and add information boxes, website links, sound files, images, documents, videos, etc. to your photo-sphere. Holobuilder also allows you to link your photo-spheres together to create your virtual field trip. Holobuilder does include an interactive tutorial to teach you how to use all the features of Holobuilder. Be sure to complete this tutorial as it is the best way to learn how to use Holobuilder to link and add information to your photo-spheres.
Try making your own virtual field trip and leave comments below of what goes well and what causes you issues. Good luck and have fun exploring!
Chris Tucker is an assistant principal at Western Boone Jr/Sr High. He has a passion for providing personalized learning for teachers and students.