VR is all the educational rage these days – and it should be, especially in the social studies. There are multiple platforms teachers and students can use to show off the world and their learning in 360° awesomeness, and I thought I would highlight a little known one – Roundme. Roundme is a fun 360° platform that you can use for engagement and student creation, even if you don’t have 360° capability with cameras. By creating a panoramic image or collage or annotating one from online, students can present their understanding of the concept in a pretty cool way – and have it visible with virtual reality viewers! RoundMe has both a Web version as well as an app for iOS and Android.
Roundme has countless panoramic images already loaded from users around the world, and a simple search can take your students across the globe. Using the platform’s world map or explore functions, you can access amazing virtual tours for free with the freemium membership. Teaching global cultures, and looking for an engaging hook? Take your studnets on a tour of the Forbidden City, Venice, or Chichen Itza Roundme tours have portals, or little windows that will take the viewer to a different location – super cool!
The web version of Roundme is great for creation as well. If students can find a panoramic image online, they can import it into RoundMe and add text and audio to describe a scene or present information. Even better, in my mind, students can create their own panoramic images using any image creator, including Google drawings. By offering students a template of the preferred size for a RoundMe, students can insert images and original artwork to create their own panorama. After uploading it to Roundme, they can add text and voice descriptions of their work. Imagine students being challenged to present their understanding of the Constitutional Convention, or the economic concept of supply and demand, or a explanation of the causes and effects of the Munich Conference. Other students can jigsaw the content and access their classmates work, learning from each other in the process. As an instructor, you can make a menu of a panorama, and then link your students’ work to one central location. Why use RoundMe instead of other non VR platforms for something like this? Simple – because it would interest students, and when you put it into Google Cardboard viewers, you get a definite wow factor.
Some ideas for utilizing RoundMe include:
- Having students take a panoramic picture in their community or some historic site and annotate it for some place-based learning
- Students take a existing panoramic or 360° images and turn it into a virtual field trip through linking different locations
- Students create a panoramic image on a image creator, possibly as an annotated mural of a historical era or a biographical sketch of an important individual
I created an example for the 13th Amendment and used it as an intro to the Reconstruction Era (and the Roundme platform). Make sure your audio is on!
Using the mobile app, Roundme easily splits into a virtual reality viewer format for use in Google Cardboard or any of the many available VR products. The sound doesn’t work yet on the app, but can be utilized in the mobile browser. The portals can be accessed by staring at them until they fill up – hands free global travel! The wow factor of the VR viewer is always cool!
If you haven’t tried out any VR yet, give Roundme a stab. The user loaded images are awesome, and the possibility for creation (my favorite possibility) is awesome. It’s a great option when offering choice to students for presenting their learning.