Google
 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Sites in VR - The VR App for Those Without VR Headsets

Sites in VR is a free Android and iOS app that provides a 1700 virtual reality views of significant landmarks around the world. The app is a good one for those who would like to experience a bit of virtual reality without having to use a virtual reality headset. Sites in VR provides imagery that you can navigate through by moving your phone or tablet in a manner similar to that of using a virtual reality viewer like Google Cardboard.

To use the app simply open it then select a country, city, or landmark type. Then on the next screen select from a menu of landmarks to view. Once you've made a selection you will be able to view the imagery and navigate through it by moving your phone or tablet.

Applications for Education
Sites in VR is a good app for those who would like to try using virtual reality in their geography lessons, but don't want to or can't make the investment in virtual reality viewing headsets.

Sites in VR is one of the resources that I featured today in my Introduction to AR & VR presentation at the LACUE conference in New Orleans. The slides from that presentation are embedded below.

Google Classroom is Now Open to All G Suite Domains

Today, Google announced that Google Classroom is now available to all G Suite domains including non-profit and business domains. This follows last year's addition of Google Classroom to personal Google accounts. Today's announcement essentially makes Google Classroom available to anyone and any entity that wants to use it.

I wasn't able to turn on Classroom for the business domains that I manage today because this update is on the "extended roll-out" plan. But I'll guess that if this is anything like the other versions of Google Classroom, everyone who participates in a Google Classroom on a business or non-profit domain will need to have a Google account issued by that domain.

Google is Removing Annotations from YouTube Videos

Eighteen months ago Google removed the annotations editor from YouTube. Today, I logged into the YouTube editor and saw an announcement that Google is going to remove all existing annotations from YouTube videos on January 15th. Google states that viewers don't like annotations and typically close twelve of them for every one that they do interact with.

What this means for you:
If you never used YouTube annotations, this means nothing to you.
If you used YouTube annotations to make a linked series of videos or a choose-your-own adventure series, all of those links will be broken on January 15th.

Personally, I'm disappointed by this because I always felt that using annotations was a great way to build a choose-your-own-adventure series of videos. Google suggests using end screens and cards as an alternative to annotations, but it's not quite the same.

11 Years Later...

On this day eleven years I published my first blog post here on Free Technology for Teachers. I had a little bit of an idea of what I wanted to do and no idea that eleven years and nearly 14,000 posts later I would still be doing it. Some of you have been with me for almost all of last eleven years, thank you!


I think that now is as good a time as any to reflect on what's happened in the eleven years since I hit publish on the first post here.

A few observations on what's changed in eleven years of blogging
  • 11 years ago everyone was talking about wikis. One of Common Craft's earliest videos explained wikis in plain English. Today, the biggest classroom wiki services no longer exist and I haven't had anyone ask me about wikis in a couple of years.
  • 11 years ago netbooks were the low cost way to get more computers into classrooms. The first iPads were more than two years away and the first Chromebooks were almost four years away.
  • 11 years ago I checked my email on my laptop and took pictures with a camera that couldn't make phone calls or send texts. You probably did the same.
  • 11 years ago I bookmarked websites by using Delicious on Firefox. Chrome was still a couple years away.
  • Google Docs morphed into Google Drive into Google Apps for Education into G Suite for Education.