Sunday, April 18, 2021

A Handful of Alternatives to Google Expeditions

As I mentioned on Friday, Google is shutting down Tour Creator at the end of June. They're also shutting down Google Expeditions at the end of June. For some teachers that is the bigger loss. And while I haven't yet found any alternatives that have the same capability as Expeditions for teachers to guide students through a virtual tour, I do have some alternatives to Expeditions for just viewing virtual tours. Here's my short, but growing list of alternatives to Google Expeditions. 

Google Arts & Culture
The Google Arts & Culture app includes many of the experiences that are present in Google Expeditions. The one thing that you can't do is guide students on tours. Google has introduced a new teacher center for Google Arts & Culture. In this video I provide an overview of how to use the Google Arts & Culture teacher center. The video includes directions for sharing specific portions of an Arts & Culture experience with your students. 


Sites in VR
Sites in VR is a free app that features immersive imagery of notable landmarks around the world. The imagery can be viewed in VR headsets or without them. Unfortunately, there is not any audio accompanying the views in Sites in VR. 

National Geographic
National Geographic's YouTube channel has more than 50 videos that are designed to be watched in virtual reality. In fact, you can find lots of YouTube videos that are intended for viewing in VR by simply refining your search to 360 or 180 VR in YouTube's search filters. See my screenshot below for more information about that. 


City Walks
City Walks is a neat website where you can go for a virtual walk in more than a dozen cities around the world. You can experience the cities with or without sound. You can go for virtual walks in the daytime or at night. At the start of each walk you'll see some quick facts about the city that might help you understand a little more about what you're seeing during the walk. City Walks is essentially a really nice display of street-level YouTube videos with some additional menu options overlaid on them. That's not meant as a knock on the site as it is a nice site. That does mean that there isn't any interactivity built into virtual walks like you might experience in a virtual reality experience. The video sources for City Walks are clearly labeled in the lower-right corner of each screen. 

Story Spheres
Story Spheres is a tool that I included in Friday's list of alternatives to Tour Creator. In addition to using it to make your immersive VR stories, you can use to browse a gallery of stories made by other Story Spheres users. Just click the explore tab on Story Spheres to start browsing through the stories. There is a search function on the gallery as well. 

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin, Today Headline, and 711Web.