## Tuesday, June 23, 2020

### Video: The Solar System to Scale

I guess I've been a bit of a space kick lately as over the weekend I shared an augmented reality app about spacecraft and yesterday I featured the NASA selfies app. This morning I found an interesting video about creating a true-to-scale model of the solar system. The video is titled To Scale: The Solar System.

To Scale: The Solar System begins by explaining why most pictures (like the one in the featured image in this post) and models of the solar system are not accurate. From there the video transitions into documenting how a small group of people made a scale model of the solar system in Black Rock Desert in Nevada. After building the model they then drove around the orbits of each planet with a light to show just how far apart the planets are, how big their orbits are, and how long each orbit actually is. When video gets to placing the model of Neptune you really get an appreciation for the size and scale of solar system. Once the model is built the builders offer an explanation of how they know their model is correct (click here to jump to that segment). Finally, the video concludes with some clips of astronauts talking about what Earth looks like from space.

Applications for Education
One of the YouTube comments below this video reads, "I had to watch this for school and I actually found something that my teacher told me to watch interesting." I think that statement will be true for many other students as the video is fantastic.

There's potential for using this video in mathematics classes to talk about scale and calculating the relative size of objects as well as calculating relative distance between objects.

### Expedition Everest - 360 Video from National Geographic

National Geographic has one of my favorite YouTube channels. I've been fascinated with Mount Everest for as long as I can remember That's why I was excited yesterday when Nat Geo published a new 360 video about a scientific expedition to Mount Everest.

Expedition Everest: The Mission is a five minute overview and introduction to a scientific expedition to Mount Everest. The purpose of the expedition is to study the effects of climate change on glaciers on the world's tallest mountains.

When you watch Expedition Everest: The Mission in your computer's web browser, you can click and drag to move the viewing angle while listening to the narration. If you have a VR viewer, watch the video in that and you can move your head to explore the immersive imagery while listening to the narration.

National Geographic has some companion photographs of the expedition available on their website, but they're only available to paid National Geographic subscribers. If you don't have a subscription, check with your school's librarian to see if your school has a subscription for student access.

On a related note, Google Expeditions includes a terrific tour of Mount Everest base camp. If you're not familiar with how to use Google Expeditions, take a look at this video.

## Monday, June 22, 2020

### Updated - How to Create Virtual Class Pictures With Pixton EDU

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about using Pixton EDU to create a virtual class photograph for the end of the school year. When I originally set out to write that post, I had planned to include a video tutorial. The first video that I made wasn't great so last week I recorded a new version which you can now see right here on my YouTube channel or as embedded below.

The first half of the video above focuses on how to create a virtual class photo if you already have a Pixton EDU classroom created. The second half of the video shows you how you can create a Pixton EDU classroom and how your students can create their own avatars in your Pixton EDU classroom. For screenshots of the process, see this post from a couple of weeks ago.

Pixton EDU can be used for a lot more than just making avatars and virtual class photos. Here are five uses of Pixton EDU to consider.

Disclosure: Pixton EDU is an advertiser on this blog.

### NASA Selfies - Put Yourself in Space and Learn a Bit About It

NASA Selfies is a fun and free app for "taking a selfie in space." What it really does is just put your face into the helmet of a space suit that is floating in space. You can pick the background for your space selfie. Backgrounds are provided from NASA's huge library of images. When you pick a background, you can tap on it to learn more about what is shown in the picture. For example, I chose the background of Pinwheel Galaxy then tapped on it to read about that infrared image captured by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

Using NASA Selfies doesn't require you to sign-up or sign-into any kind of account. The selfies that you make with the app are saved directly on your phone or tablet's camera roll. After your image is saved you can share it however you normally share images from your phone or tablet.

Get NASA Selfies for iOS here and get the Android version here

Applications for Education
NASA Selfies could be a fun app to let students use to inspire a little curiosity about space. It could also be good for capturing some fun pictures to use in a presentation of simple video like those created with Adobe Spark video.

## 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.