Showing posts with label Story Spheres. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Story Spheres. Show all posts

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.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Story Spheres - Create Immersive Audio Tours of Interesting Places

Story Spheres is a neat tool for adding audio recordings to 360 imagery. Story Spheres lets you upload short audio recordings in which you describe to viewers what they're seeing, the history of what they're seeing, and the significance of what's in the scene they're seeing. It's possible to upload multiple recordings. When you're done you can can share your Story Spheres story in a blog post, on social media, or any other place that you typically post a link. Take a look at this Story Spheres story about Uluru to get a better sense of what can be done with Story Spheres. 

Back in June I wrote out directions for how to use Story Spheres. You can read those directions here or watch my new video about how to make a Story Spheres story. 


Applications for Education
One of my favorite uses of Story Spheres is creating short local history projects. Students can explore their communities and capture imagery that they then narrate to tell the story behind what they have photographed. 

I used the Google Street View app to capture the 360 imagery for my Story Sphere, but there are many other free apps that will let you capture 360 imagery without needing to purchase a 360 camera.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Story Spheres - Create Audio Tours of Immersive Imagery

Story Spheres is a free tool for adding audio to 360 degree images that you own or have the rights to re-use (Creative Commons licensed or public domain). With Story Spheres you can add audio narration and ambient audio to your 360 images. Once you have a 360 image that you want to use, using Story Spheres is fairly easy to use. Before you try to make your own, take a look at this one about Uluru to get a better sense of what's possible with it.

To create a Story Sphere you will need to create an account on the site. Once you've created an account you can upload any 360 image that you own. After uploading your image you can then upload audio files to use in your Story Sphere. (Audio must be recorded outside of Story Spheres, a tool like Online Voice Recorder would work well for this activity). When your audio is uploaded you then position the audio play button in your 360 image. You can choose to have the audio automatically play or play only when clicked by the viewer of your Story Sphere.

Completed Story Spheres can be shared in all of the usual manners that you might expect including a direct link and embed codes. My Story Sphere about a historic home in my neighborhood is embedded below.


Applications for Education
One of my favorite uses of Story Spheres is creating short local history projects. Students can explore their communities and capture imagery that they then narrate to tell the story behind what they have photographed.

I used the Google Street View app to capture the 360 imagery for my Story Sphere, but there are many other free apps that will let you capture 360 imagery without needing to purchase a 360 camera.