360° Video – The New Frontier in Learner Engagement

360 Video - The New Frontier in Learner Engagement

YouTube is a vital tool all teachers should employ to engage learners. Teachers can use tools such as EdPuzzle and TED-Ed to build on the YouTube learning experience. Teachers can now use YouTube to share 360° videos – giving students a tactile, kinesthetic experience that allows for movement (see below) when watching videos.

Take advantage of these videos by using a YouTube search filter to find them:

Even better than having learners use a trackpad or mouse to explore a 360° video on a laptop is using the YouTube iPad app to have them explore using their fingers and movement. Watch as I demonstrate:

The amount of 360° content on YouTube will likely continue to grow. Teachers will have access to more excellent content to share with learners. In the meantime, here are four of my favorite 360° videos, two for science teachers and two for history teachers. Click play and use a mouse (or finger on a phone or tablet) to explore all 360 degrees of each video:

 

 

 

If you would like to discuss this with me, please comment below or tweet me at @TomEMullaney. Thank you for reading.

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Have iPads? Use Them For Google Expeditions!

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Update 7/15/17: I was honored when my colleague Cristie Watson gave me a shout-out referring to my leading her students on Google Expeditions on iPads:

Google Expeditions is a great app for engaging students and broadening their horizons.

I led my colleagues on a Google Expedition at the NCTIES 2016 conference:

The app is marketed in conjunction with Google Cardboard and Android phones. This is fine but it involves lots of moving pieces. The cardboards need to be cleaned frequently, especially during cold and flu season. Additionally, a complete Google Expeditions set for ten students costs $3,999.

The good news is that you can probably lead your students on a Google Expedition tomorrow. And you can do it for free with equipment your school has if it has any functioning iPads. Google Expeditions runs on iPads in a “window mode” that gives students a 360 view. Having tried this with students, I can attest, they love it. Sure, the cardboard viewers are more encompassing, but no student has complained about not using a viewer.

A Brief Technical Note

To lead an expedition from one iPad to others, all devices need to be connected to the same WiFi network with peer-to-peer sharing enabled. Test this by using two iPads to lead and follow an expedition. If it does not work, ask your IT department about enabling peer-to-peer sharing.

Articulate Expectations

I beta-tested Expeditions with my literacy block. I led them on an expedition of the Empire State Building.

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The kids loved it. They were very excited. I could tell they were not listening as I read the narration provided by Google Expeditions. This was a low-stakes beta test but I would have to ensure students would listen when I led expeditions as part of classes.

Since then, I have pulled groups of seven students to lead them on Google Expeditions. Keep the group numbers low if possible. Thirty students in a Google Expedition could become chaotic. Before I hand students iPads, I lay out my expectations:

  • Treat the iPads like precious treasure. We cannot afford to have one broken.
  • Google Expeditions is awesome. You’re going to go banana and I need you to listen as I explain what you are seeing in each scene.

Making those expectations clear at the start has made our Google Expeditions successful. I have led sixth-grade students on expeditions of pyramids in Egypt, the National Museum of Iraq, the Great Wall of China, the Palace at Versailles, and the human auditory system. My colleague Cristie Watson and I have documented some of these moments with our students.

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Leading expeditions is easy. Teachers need to sign in with a Google account and then simply search for and download expeditions they want to lead. Students open the app and join the expedition, no sign-in required. Students can move their iPad to change their view of the 360 image. They can also use their fingers to change their vantage point. Swivel chairs are ideal but not essential.

Some Resources to Get Started:

If you would like to share your thoughts with me, please comment below or tweet me at @TomEMullaney. Thank you for reading.

The Google Expeditions logo I used in the image for this blog post.