Creating 360˚ virtual tours

Using H5P, one of the tools available on Gateway (Moodle, our VLE), you can easily create 360˚ virtual tours: a collection of 360˚ photos, which you can add texts, videos, pictures, links and multiple choice questions to. A 360˚ photo is a photograph which allows you to look in each direction.


Virtual soil, air and water tour

virtual tour

An example 360˚ virtual tour, developed by Dr. Felicity Crotty and Chantal Schipper for Catalyst module “4410 Making a positive impact on the natural environment and rural economy”, can be tried out via the link below:

Creating a virtual tour is surprisingly easy to do. All you need is:

  • A smartphone with the free Google Streetview app installed
  • A tripod with smartphone grip (can be borrowed from ITS if needed)
  • The H5P virtual tour content builder, which is already available on Gateway (our Moodle Virtual Learning Environment – VLE)

Check out the steps below to learn how to create a virtual tour.


Step 1: Planning your virtual tour

Before you go out and take photos, take a moment to think about:

  • What do you want the students to learn from this?
  • What 360˚ photos will you need to take?
  • What information (text, images, videos or links) will you need to give students to be able to achieve the learning outcomes?
  • What questions could you ask to allow students to check their learning?

Check your diary to select a time when you want to take the photo(s) and ask a Learning Technologist if the kit is available. A Learning Technologist may also be able to take the photo(s) for you. If you’re taking photographs outside, check the weather beforehand so it’s not raining.


Step 2: Taking the photographs

streetview

Once you are on location to take your photo(s), set up the tripod with the smartphone rig and insert your smartphone. Note that your smartphone must be kept in portrait mode (upright) for it to work in H5P.

Open up the Google Streetview app and click on the Camera icon on the bottom-right. Follow the instructions on the screen – you will be asked to point the camera at a collection of dots on the screen. Make sure you do not move the tripod until the 360˚ photo is complete, as this may cause odd seams in your 360˚ view.

Once the icon at the bottom turns green, click on it to save your 360˚ photo to your smartphone. You will be able to check your 360˚ photo once it has finished processing. There is no need to upload the photo to Google Maps – just save it on your smartphone.

You are able to combine multiple 360˚ photos together to create a tour of an area.

A video tutorial on using Google Streetview to create 360˚ photos can be viewed below:


Step 3: Creating your tour with information and questions

Before opening up Gateway, hook up your phone to your computer to copy the 360˚ photo(s) from your phone’s photo album (most modern phones have a USB plug in the charger). Alternatively, you could email the photo(s) to yourself from the phone’s photo album, then save them on your computer.

Then, log in to Gateway and go to the module you want to add your virtual tour to. Click on “Turn editing on”, then “Add an Activity or Resource”. Select “Interactive content” (black H5P icon) and click “Add”.

From this step, you will be able to follow the instructions on the H5P Virtual tour tutorial available here:

Once you have finished creating your virtual tour, scroll down to the bottom of the page and select “Save and display”. Do a run-through of your virtual tour to check for any mistakes. If you need to edit your virtual tour, go to the Administration block on the right and select “H5P > Edit settings”,

For any support, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the RAU Learning Technologists (Chantal Schipper, Aurelie Soulier or Marieke Guy).

Teaching with VR

Last week we had a visit from James Maltby, Learning Technologist at Plumpton College. Plumpton College is based in East Sussex and one of the RAU’s partner colleges. We oversee validation of a number of their postgraduate level courses.

James Maltby demonstrates a pole for the 360 degree camera

James Maltby demonstrates a pole for the 360 degree camera

James is an award-winning learning technologist and educational researcher specialising in blended and immersive teaching. His work embedding virtual reality within teaching has been featured on BBC Countryfile. He has presented research at the Association of Colleges, Blended Learning Consortium, Education & Training Foundation, and JISC.

In 2019, he was awarded a fellowship from the 1851 Royal Commission and the Education & Training Foundation to continue his research into how immersive technology is transforming technical teaching and STEM education. The programme is a a partnership of Sussex training providers in the United Kingdom exploring the effective use of 360°, augmented and virtual reality technologies within the classroom. You can read more about the project at: https://www.teachingwithvirtualreality.com/

Showreel from Plumpton College on Vimeo.

James started our workshop with some nearpod questions that got us thinking about our digital skills. After a brief history of virtual reality (from the Nintendo Virtual Boy released in 1995 to the Google cardboard of 2014 and Oculus Rift in 2016) and the state of current technology he demonstrated some of the learning and teaching videos Plumpton have made (see https://vimeo.com/plumptoncollege). The videos range from countryside tours and forestry visits, to experiencing horse jumping and horse dissection. We were all able to try out the videos using an Oculus Go headset and see the relatively inexpensive tools used to create them – a Rioch Theta 360 degree camera and extension pole.

As a group we discussed quick and easy ways to get started. For example use of Google cardboard or Google streetview apps and embedding in H5P – see below.

RAU grass quad - click to view

RAU grass quad – click to view

We’d like to thank James for visiting us and sharing Plumpton’s exciting content with us. We’re raring to get started!

VR/360 ideas crowd sourced from the group

VR/360 ideas crowd sourced from the group