Google Tour Creator

The Google Tour Creator tool is similar to ThingLink in that you are combining the concept of creating a hyperlink but doing it within a 360 degree image that you can view in VR. In fact, you could also look at it as an interactive slide show in VR where you can string together scenes while narrating overtop, or embedding text, photos, links and more. You can essentially guide where someone is looking while in your tour. IMPORTANT NOTE Google is going to be phasing out this platform so while it will work until late June 2021, it will no longer be accessible after that. Google will be incorporating this platform into Google Arts and Culture, as well as building in similar functionality within Google Earth.

Screen Shot 2020-03-16 at 7.25.57 PM

There is also a ton of pre-existing content created and shared by other users so it is a great resource for just experiencing guided tours that already exist, before creating your own. You can also upload your tour to Google Expeditions where you (or others) can view it in virtual reality.

Screen Shot 2020-03-16 at 7.26.25 PM

Google Expeditions

Screen Shot 2020-03-16 at 7.17.25 PM

The content for both VR and AR has grown exponentially in the past year, and Google Expeditions is a fantastic resource for students and teachers to gain a broader perspective about a range of topics. For teachers in a classroom, it is very easy to control all student iPads at once while guiding a tour. But even in the absence of a classroom experience, students can independently take advantage of this platform in a variety of ways. You can print off AR “markers” which act as a trigger to show a model in augmented reality, or simply move your device around a specified area until the model appears. For VR, you don’t actually need a VR headset to explore in a meaningful way. The VR content (which is a larger catalog than AR currently) can be viewed by moving your device (tablet or phone) around and exploring the content as if it is all around you.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Google will be phasing out Expeditions and it will no longer be active as of June 2021. It is worth taking advantage of this platform while it exists though, and after it ceases to exist, check out Google Arts and Culture where many of the tours enjoyed in Expeditions will transfer over.

Screen Shot 2020-01-23 at 9.24.54 AM

Students don’t need to be just “consumers” of the content either. You can create your own VR tour in Google Tour Creator (or see that entry on this site to learn more) and upload it into Google Expeditions to view. Using the screen record feature on the computer, tablet, or phone, students can also record their voice while giving a tour of what they have learned or detailing features of an AR model while it appears projected right there in the room with them. There are lots of possibilities for app smashing (combining tech platforms) with this tool.

Google Earth (in AR/VR)

While Google Earth has been around for a while now, the recent updates are really eye-popping. The possibilities with which you can use Google Tour Builder alone make it a very powerful tool in teaching social studies and geography. New 360 degree images also allow for the incorporation of virtual reality experiences for students. **Note that after Google Tour Builder is phased out in June 2021, many of the features will begin to adjoin the Google Earth platform.Screen Shot 2019-02-05 at 2.37.15 PM.png
Screen Shot 2019-02-05 at 2.37.29 PM.png

Google Arts & Culture (AR and VR)

You may not have even been aware that Google has an Arts and Culture division that has a ton of content for classes to explore. From using VR headsets to tour the Louvre, or delving into the culture of a particular country through art and architecture, this resource is worth checking out. Google will also be pouring even more of its attention into this platform as it phases out Expeditions and Tour Creator, in favor of a single, all encompassing platform.


Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 11.18.20 PM


Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 11.18.42 PM

Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 11.17.54 PM

JigSpace AR

This is an app that can be used alongside a lesson to help students visualize information. There are a number of similar apps out there that are rapidly adding content, though some are better than others and many will pester you with add-ons to purchase. JigSpace is a solid option however because it has quality content for free. Most of the topics center on science and history, but you could certainly apply some of the content to other subject areas. Students could also record themselves explaining a model that they are looking at in AR, therefore allowing them to interact with the content more than just as a “consumer”.




Virtual Reality in Middle School

VR has long been considered an extension of the video game industry and the assumption is that it is purely entertainment (or worse, excess screentime strapped to your face). However, the educational ramifications of putting students into space, geographically anywhere on the planet including in the oceans, in the midst of a battle fought long ago etc… are pretty powerful. Even as a short intro to a larger lesson, VR is a fantastic way to engage students and give them a more visceral learning experience to complement other more traditional components of teaching a unit.

We currently have VR headsets for 6 students at a time and can take advantage of apps like Discovery VR and Google Expeditions to instantly take students anywhere. Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 10.41.57 AMScreen Shot 2018-08-23 at 10.41.37 AM



Additionally, we have a top of the line virtual reality headset and equipment that lives in the tech training room. Although only one student at a time can actually navigate with the headset, classmates can watch on the big screen while they await their turn working on another “learning station”.

Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 10.18.26 AM


Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality is perhaps even more powerful than VR in an education setting because every student can have the same experience at the same time. It can easily be added into an existing lesson and be experienced concurrently with class lecture, group work, research, and more.


Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 10.58.33 AM

Imagine frog dissection without the smell! Students can look at the human body and dive into layers of a cell. If you have a topic you teach, there is an augmented reality visual experience you can draw on to reinforce learning. There are also numerous ways for students to take advantage of existing material, add to it, and incorporate it into their own project to showcase their learning.

Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 10.58.45 AM

Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 10.20.37 AM

Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 10.19.24 AM

Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 10.19.49 AM

Virtual Reality: Art

Along with other academic areas, virtual reality has also grown to support amazing art and creation. This past August, student interns who helped build the computer that drives our top VR equipment had fun “virtual tagging” walls with spray paint design. Just like traditional art, there are lots of mediums you can work with and many options for displaying your finished work so it can be appreciated beyond just the virtual world.

Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 11.04.01 AM


Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 11.05.16 AM


CoSpaces could actually live anywhere on this menu as it is more a platform whereScreen Shot 2018-08-07 at 10.32.32 PM can create a 3-D world embedding any content they wish. One particularly powerful possibility is having students create a virtual museum, either collectively or individually.
Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 10.32.23 PM
Students wishing to code may do so as it can use drag and drop for the non-coder, block-based coding for the novice coder, and java for the advanced coder. As a cherry on top, students can explore their world, museum, etc… using a virtual reality headset. 
Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 10.32.42 PM
Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 10.32.55 PMScreen Shot 2018-08-07 at 10.33.05 PM

Blog at

Up ↑