Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Easy Tech DIY: VR Classroom Tour!


One of my 7th grade students showed me how to create a photo sphere of a location using my phone's camera and the Google Street View app (it's available FREE for both iOS AND Android devices). It makes a 360 degree "street view" image, like in Google Maps... OR, if you use your phone with a Google Cardboard viewer, you can view the space in VR and put yourself directly in the middle of the photo sphere!

Of course, I had to make one of our classroom here at school and publish it on Google Maps. I think it's cool that anyone can experience being "in" the computer lit room from anywhere - it's a totally new take on a virtual classroom tour, and a super fun alternative to a video tour!


Here's how I did it... First, I downloaded and launched the Google Street view app (see top of post for links to iOS and Android versions). There will be a little camera icon in the lower right-hand corner of your screen. Click on it, and select "camera" to use your regular old camera phone.


Your live camera view will pop up, and you're tasked with overlaying the circle on the "dot" - holding it in place until the pie-shaped timer runs out. You then rotate around, repeating this circle/dot step until you get back to your starting point. 

Once you've rotated 360 degrees though, you now can tilt your camera UP or DOWN, repeating the 360 turn and the circle/dot routine, until you've basically photographed an entire sphere around you! 


When your photo sphere is complete, you'll get a green check mark icon. You can then select it and publish it to a specific Google Maps listing. Once that step is finished, you can then choose to share your photo sphere via email, messages, etc... You can even embed your image to your website or blog, like I did above!

If you open our classroom photo sphere (here's the link: 360 Sphere of Room 020) using your mobile device, you can choose the "Google Cardboard" view, which works when you insert your mobile device sideways into a viewer. Without a viewer, it just looks like this:


I loved how easy this was to do, and although this has actually been around for quite a while, I'm just catching on now, and thought that it was totally worth sharing. Check it out!

- Mrs L.
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