Thursday 22 February 2018

Round ME - create your own VR Tours

Google has just launched its Expeditions creator BETA program that allows students and teachers to create their own Google Expeditions.

According to Google
"One of the top requests we’ve heard from teachers and students is the ability to create their own Expeditions. Today, we are excited to announce a beta program that allows schools and educators to do just that. Classrooms will be able to create immersive tours of the world around them -- their classrooms, their schools, their communities."

I have signed up for the BETA program, I can't wait and I hope we get to test it out. Until then though we will continue creating our own Google Expeditions via the website

Make your own Google Expeditions or even better get your students creating VR tours

roundme is really cool and very easy to use, it has heaps of possibilities for moving students from consumption to creation (one of my favourite things to do and right at the top of Blooms revised Taxonomy)

Creation of VR tours is a very simple process

Anyone can upload 360 degree images by dragging and dropping the image on to the browser window, with the free version of roundme, you can upload up to 15 images a week (which is plenty)

To get 360 degree images / photospheres you can use a 360 camera, the Streeview app on a phone or download Streetview images from the website istreetview.comSee here for detailed instructions. 

Sometimes when you download Google Streetview images the image is too large, Roundme has a photo limit of 10000 X 5000 pixels. To change the size of the image on my Mac I used ColorSync Utility which allows you to set the pixel size of an image to the exact proportions you want while keeping the scale the same. I am sure there are equivalent programs on Windows or Chrome.

Once the photospheres are uploaded you can then add content to the 360 photos including Youtube videos, images, text and links to other 360 images thus creating a tour.

Press a button to publish it and share the link.

There you have it, the teacher or even better the students created Google Expedition / VR tour.

Here is an example of the roundme that one of our grade 5 teachers created so his class could check out their camp location before they went on camp.

How can I use this in my class?

We have been exploring using student created VR tours in the following ways.

  • Art students create a virtual art gallery of their creations, this could include videos, images and a reflection on each piece.
  • Science students can create virtual tours of inside the human body, explaining different parts and their jobs.
  • PE students use a 360 image of a Soccer field and then annotate it to explain who is in position and what each player should do next.
  • Social Studies students create virtual tours of modern buildings, ancient ruins or geographical features with their own embedded explanations including videos.
  • Host Nation students explain the cultural significance of buildings and areas around Kuala Lumpur.
  • English students retell a story or trace a journey using different 360 images to create a tour of literary novels they have been reading. 
  • Elementary students can retell a fairy tale or make a 3D tour version of their own stories
  • Maths students create a virtual problem wall, a 360 image filled with problems, they then add hotspots with links to the solutions (videos, written or images).
  • Design students have been creating VR and AR resources for teachers in the school, they had to pick a teachers and ask them what type of resource they wanted and then create it for them.
  • English students can create VR versions of their stories, with each location being a different 360 image 

We have only just started this process and I feel like we have only scraped the top of the iceberg, so to speak. Maybe next I will make a VR tour of all the different VR experiences our students have created.

Tuesday 6 February 2018

The really easy way to make your own 360 videos

If you (or even better your students) want to create their own 360 degree videos with nothing more than a computer check this out.

Some of our students are using this to
- create virtual tours of important buildings in Malaysia
- display their poetry in a 360 world - students choose the location and read the poetry
- explain the different things they see in an ecosystem or different parts of a structure
- reflect on an excursion or field trip
- share their understanding of a geographical feature
- create a "where am I puzzle" for their classmates (great for ESOL learners)

The really easy cheats way to make your own 360 videos with nothing more than a computer

1. download a Google Streetview photosphere (360 image)

The first thing you want to do is find and download a 360 degree image, To do this we used Street View Panorama downloader. (Software here) This nifty little program allows you to download Google Streetview panoramas.

Searching on streetview downloader isn't great (nor very accurate), so I find it better to find the location on Google Maps and then load the panorama into the downloader.

To download the panorama you copy the Panorama ID into the downloader program, select the download location and name and hitting the download button.
make sure you label the panorama as from Google Street View and give the correct image credit.

2. Import the image into iMovie.

(or any other movie editing software)
Once the panorama is in iMovie make sure you change the cropping to fit, so that it doesn't cut off any of the 360 image.

You can then add titles and a voice over, you can even have multiple panoramas so that it acts more like a tour.

Adding the voice over is the big win for us, we want students describing features in the panorama or explaining what is happening while someone watches the 360 video. Students can also create virtual tours with themselves as the guides.

We then export the movie, making sure to keep the aspect ratio in tact, so that when youtube detects it as a 360 video everything is there.

3. Add 360 video metadata to your video

To ensure your video is turned into a 360 video on youtube, I find it is best to follow these instructions to add the 360 metadata (video information) to your video.

You download a small piece of software (spacial media metadata injector) which adds the information to your video
It is a simple as opening the video and pressing the inject metadata button. (it is also very quick)

Once you have the video with the injected metadata, you can .....

4 Upload it to Youtube

Once you upload the video, youtube should detect it as a 360 video. It can now be viewed like any other 360 video on a computer, tablet or with Google cardboard.

This is also a handy way to add music and titles to student created 360 videos. It would also be cool to use green screen and have a avatar (you could use gabsee or snapchat) talking as people scroll around the 360 video.