As I wrote last week on FreeTech4Teachers.com observing and interacting with augmented reality and virtual reality content is nice, but after a while students will get bored with the pre-made commercial content.
You can combat some of that boredom by putting students in charge of picking the AR and VR experiences that are of most interest to them while also being relevant to the topic at hand. You can further engage students by having them create their own AR and VR experiences to share with their classmates, with you, and with the world at large.
Five Ways to Create Your Own AR & VR Experiences
Cardboard Camera is a free iOS and Android app offered by Google. The app lets you take a 360 panoramic image that you can share to view in Google Cardboard viewer or similar VR headset. The app will capture any sounds including your voiceover present while capturing the image. Those who use Cardboard Camera on Android can save their VR images in Google Photos where they can be cropped and edited with basic image filters.
Cardboard Camera for Android is available at:
Cardboard Camera for iOS is available at:
Here’s a video tutorial on how to use the Cardboard Camera app https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xH29dYd4TDg&t=1s
Google Street View App
The Google Street View app for Android and iOS offers more than just a way to view interesting places around the world. The free app includes a camera function that can be used to capture 360 photospheres. When you tap the camera icon in the app it will guide you through taking a series of pictures that will be automatically stitched together to form the photosphere. The completed photosphere can be shared with others in a variety of ways including direct sharing via SMS or email, posting on social media, or by contributing to the Google Maps community.
The Google Street View iOS app is available here:
The Google Street View Android app is available here:
VR Tour Creator
Google’s VR Tour Creator (https://poly.google.com/creator/tours/) offers an excellent way to create virtual tours that can be viewed in your web browser and or in the Google Expeditions app.
Google’s Street View imagery is the backbone of the VR Tour Creator. To start creating a tour you have to identify a location using the built-in connection to Google Maps. Once you’ve identified a location you then add a scene to your tour. At a minimum each scene will include a Street View image and the text description that you add to it. You can add images within the Street View image of the scene. Those images are called “points of interest.” Each point of interest can have its own description.
Google’s VR Tour Creator lets you add audio to each scene and point of interest. The audio has to be recorded outside of the Tour Creator and then uploaded to the scenes or points of interest. Any MP3 file will work in your tour. Vocaroo.com and TwistedWave.com are a couple of simple tools for creating an audio recording.
Completed tours can be shared publicly or privately. Your tours can be viewed in your Google Expeditions account provided that you created the tour with the same Google account that you use for Google Expeditions. With your tour in Google Expeditions you can guide students just like you can with any other tour that is available in the Google Expeditions app.
Metaverse Studio is a free service for creating your own augmented reality learning experiences. With Metaverse you can create interactive, augmented reality games and challenges for students to complete on their phones or tablets. Metaverse Studio is a block programming (sometimes called visual programming) interface similar in concept to what you will find in the MIT App Inventor and Thunkable. This means that you don’t write code. Instead of writing code you create your augmented reality experience by selecting commands and selecting pieces of media from a menu. Put the commands together in the proper sequence and your augmented reality experience can be used on any iOS or Android device.
Mastering Metaverse Studio can take quite a while. That’s not because the service is hard to use. It takes a while to master because there are so many command and logic options that you can employ to create an augmented reality application.
Metaverse does offer an extensive set of tutorial videos. The first of those can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oJDfZB1F0A&t=4s.
Patches from Vizor
Patches is a free program that you can use to develop animated virtual reality experiences. Patches offers animated characters, animals, buildings, and common objects that you can place inside a virtual reality scene. Just drag and drop objects and animations from the selection menus to the Patches design canvas. You can create and customize your VR scenes as much as you like by changing object positioning, color schemes, and even the speed at which an animation moves. You can preview your VR scenes within the Patches editor. Completed projects can be viewed in a VR viewer by just enter the link assigned to your project into your mobile phone’s browser.
5 AR & VR Creation Projects for Students
- VR & AR tours based upon students’ favorite books. (On a similar note, VR to illustrate stories that students have written.)
- VR & AR tours about places students study in geography / history lessons.
- VR & AR tours to illustrate examples of math and science used in the design and construction of landmarks.
- VR & AR tours to illustrate examples of types of landforms, rocks, waterways, and bodies of water.
- VR & AR tours to illustrate examples of an animal’s natural habitat and range.