Sunday, April 14, 2019

Our 2nd Graders Created 360º Virtual Reality Tours Of Our School With Google Street View!

This week, our 2nd graders in Tracy Ferguson's room became explorers and creators in a very unique and new way.  
On April 9, we all met a little early before school to tune in for the special Jane Goodall Skype in the Classroom and....
...Microsoft event
It was so wonderful to listen to Jane share her story and inspire us on how to become more involved in caring about and taking care of the world around us.  
You can watch this event and find the materials here
Afterwards, Tracy and I thought it would be fun to gather up the kids and take them on a little exploring of our own.  
She just received this amazing ecoSTEM PolliNATION Kit grant from the Captain Planet Foundation so they brought that along. 
They were super excited to set off to explore outside...
 ... around our school....
...looking and noticing unique things about the world around us here in Van Meter, Iowa. 
To record this exploration, we had our students bring the iPads and...
...take come photos and videos of...
..observations they were making and things they were finding outside. 
This was good practice for what was next!  
The next day, I loaded a new app, Google Street View, onto our iTouches and got the MERGE headsets all ready for them to use. 
They would be taking the iTouches outside and within the school to capture 360º spherical photos with...
...the Google Street View app, which allows... to create 360º photo spheres to add to your very own Google Street View and Map experiences. 

You can get the Google Street View app in the App Store here
This was the first time we did this with her students and it was super easy.  Here is how we did this...

At the bottom of the app, you will see three choices.  You can use your iPhone or iTouch camera or add a one-shot spherical camera to take 360º photography.  I just ordered a Ricoh Theta S for us to use so we can't wait to try that next.  For this project, we used the camera on the iTouch and it worked great! 
All you have to do is click on Camera (at the bottom of the app). It will open up your camera and show you a little box with a round circle, as shown above.  You move the camera around the room, lining up the circle with the orange dot.  Every time they line up, a photo is taken.  It fills in the photo as you move around the room creating the 360º photo sphere. 
When you are finished, you can publish the 360º photos to Google Maps to share your photo spheres with the world. 
Once we showed the students how this worked, we got into three groups and helped them create their own 360º photo spheres at Van Meter.  Tracy and one of our visiting Watch Dog Dads took two groups outside, while I stayed inside with the other one. 
They had so much fun developing a plan and deciding where we would go.  We started in the office where Mrs. Beach was working hard. 
 We went to the library and....
...the STEM room. 
We even went to the East Dining hall and other fun places to show views from our school. 
When all three groups were done, I published them and watched them pop up on Google Map at Van Meter School. 

The next day, it was time to look at their creations...
 ...with the MERGE headsets.  This is where they would be able to view the 360º photo spheres using virtual reality.  
 They were all very excited to...
 ...give it a try.
 Even Mrs. Ferguson was impressed with their work as explorers and photographers.
When they were finished looking around, we decided it would be fun for me to take a 360º photo sphere of all of them too!  

You can check out Mrs. Ferguson's super cool 2nd graders below, along with one of the library and football field. 

We can't wait to create even more and make a tour to share with our community and others around the world.  

For now, we hope you check out their first creations on Google Map. 

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