Several years ago, Google launched Tour Builder as a part of their Geo Tools collection. It was originally created for veterans in order to help share their stories, show where they had been, and save memories. Since then, many others, including teachers and students, have used it as a powerful digital storytelling tool. Tour Builder combines the beauty of Google Maps, images/photos, and text to help tell your story.
Now, Google has taken Tour Builder to the next level with Tour Creator. Imagine being able to create your own VR Tour. Imagine no more, that’s exactly what Google has created with Tour Creator!
Google Tour Creator allows you to create a digital story in VR. Using 360° photos, you can create scenes. No worries if you don’t have your own 360° photos; Google Street View images are there for you. Want to narrate your scene or have specific music that will enhance the viewers experience? Google’s got you covered there, too. Simply upload your mp3 files. Within each scene, points of interest can be created. These can be informational text, image overlays, or audio clips. Each scene can support several points of interest.
Once you have created your tour with a few scenes, you are ready to share it with the world! When publishing, you have the option to keep it unlisted or share publicly. Unlisted allows you to share with specific individuals whereas public will share with everyone. The best part is that once it is published, others can view on any device, including Google Cardboard viewer.
The uses for this in the classroom are exciting. A school might create a virtual tour. Students might create a story about the battles of Lexington and Concord, a tour of their town, or ecosystems and habitats. It is important to note that this tool is not yet a part of the G Suite Tools and therefore students under 13 cannot use it with their own account.