Recently I worked with the Speech Therapists at Rocklin Unified to demo the use of Virtual Reality with their students.
As a former history teacher, I usually think along the lines of the traditional classroom teachers. Even as new technologies come out I wonder about their use with teachers and students in classrooms. So, it was interesting to think like professionals who have different roles and responsibilities and wonder "how could I use this with MY kids"
Full disclosure!!! My wife is a Speech Therapist
A Photo Sphere is a 360-degree panorama that lets you take immersive pictures with your phone, then share them online. You can pan and zoom, much like you can with the Street View feature we've all come to know on Google Maps. In order to take one you have to open up the app I shared above, stand in one spot, and take a series of 32 images. Afterwards, the software stitches them together. Since you are shooting 32 separate images, you will find some fuzzy edges at times, particularly if there are moving objects or people. You'll get better over time though!
Below is an screen shot of one of these Photo Spheres I took at at University of Nevada football game. But the still photo doesn't do it justice; try looking at this link which has the 360 degree view - and better yet, if you look at this with a VR viewer you get more of a sense that you are there. We've all seen these on Google Maps but just think, you can now make these of anywhere you go
Since these are online and able to be shared, then they also can be searched. So, now this is where educators can jump in and utilize them in their lessons.
The View-Master reels from the 70's & 80's were some of my favorite toys. These were the the stereoscope viewers that allowed kids and adults to view 3D scenes by simply swapping different reels.
Its exciting to see that the company has jumped into the VR world now as well. This time instead of using reels this View-Master uses a smartphone to do the much of the same idea which is split an image into two - one for each eye.
This is a new program from Google which provides both the
"Expeditions is a virtual reality platform built for the classroom. We worked with teachers and content partners from around the world to create more than 100 engaging journeys - making it easy to immerse students in entirely new experiences."
Star Wars & VR
Since everything on the planet has some connection to Star Wars, then VR is no exception. But unlike Darth Vader Mac n Cheese, this is a slick product.
With your VR viewer (cardboard, View-Master, or even one of these limited edition Verizon cardboard viewers which are currently sold out) you should check out the Star Wars app. Just search for this app on your app store and you will find it.
The Star Wars app has tons of things to do but check out JAKKU SPY. This is their VR experience where every two days or so they are releasing new mini-3D VR movies. They are short but very impressive and with the Cardboard experience it is a great introduction to the world of virtual reality.
The photo below is both a screen shot of one of these mini-movies along with one of my co-workers experiencing the show.
Lastly, my co-host of our podcast Check This Out, Brian Briggs and I will be doing an episode of our show about VR soon and all the educational opportunities that are out there. If you have ideas or suggestions please reach out to me and I'll be sure to get it in the show.