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.

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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.

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Google Expeditions

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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.

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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 forĀ app smashing (combining tech platforms) with this tool.

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.

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Skype In The Classroom

Microsoft offers this free online community that is filled with possible connections to experts and other classrooms from around the world. It continues to grow its collection of possible sessions and with our many spaces that have larger display options, large groups of students can “reach across the globe” to participate at once.

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Nepris

Nepris is a resource for connecting leading experts in a variety of fields with classrooms. They offer live personal distance learning opportunities as well as shared sessions where students from around the world can submit questions to be answered live. They also provide a curated collection of past presentations. We do have a basic school subscription that grants us access to many features and sessions, though we could upgrade our plan if there is enough interest.

 

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Virtual Field Trips Through VR

360Cities is a free catalog of 360 Photos and Videos from around the world. THOUSANDS of pictures that students can immerse themselves in with or without VR headsets. Check out a few of the many ancient Greek sites the 5th graders could explore. Best of all, this resource can be paired with CoSpaces as the images are free for the students to use.
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