360° content creation platforms are gaining popularity in schools as a way for students to create their own virtual environments and narratives (linear and branching) to demonstrate mastery of learning objectives.
Professionally, I think that students should be creating and sharing this content and not teachers (we should be worrying less about whether students can make a ‘perfect’ product and more concerned about the many technical, thinking and social skills they are learning as the create and share virtual environments, especially if they do this collaboratively.
360° content creation is certainly developmentally appropriate for primary school children and can be great fun for primary and secondary school students. Students can import scenes and annotate them or, better still, create their own 360° photo or video scenes to use as the basis for learning task. Here are some of things I look for as an educator in a 360° platform:
- Intuitive no-code mainly ‘drag and drop’ or easy content creation tools with good tutorial and online/real-time support.
- The ability to put in your own 360° video or photo foundation environments which can house media-rich content that students can create (video, photo, text, animation/gif) and that can link though hot spots or portals to create linear or branching way (joining environments with different media).
- Options for sharing and publishing 360 creations from private class to public viewing.
- Clear intellectual property and privacy policies including consideration of biometric* data harvesting – demonstrated knowledge of privacy legislation is required.
- Accessible analytics which make sense for learning at content creation and viewing/interaction phases.
- Preferably linked or supported by a teacher professional learning community who can share creations, pedagogical experiences and curriculum material.
- Easy to manage school and student account arrangements.
- Simple to understand advice on and ways to manage network compatibility and bandwidth implications for your school (and if it is a streaming platform, if your school network can accommodate this).
*Biometrics can be defined as the automated recognition and collection of measurable data on biological and behavioural characteristics of individuals. Behavioural data includes vocal patterns, eye tracking/gaze attention, gait tracking or typing recognition. For more information on biometrics and other legal and ethical issues related to VR and AR technologies see this report for educators.
– This post bought to you by A/Prof Erica Southgate.
Feature image: Screenshot from https://www.360cities.net/search/@tags-aerial