Just in time for back-to-school: New distance learning resources are available on Wide Open School.
This site wasn't created as a tool for kids or for classrooms, so take a quick spin before you turn your students loose. Consider having students search for panoramic images of sites from books -- such as the Chinatown locations in The Joy Luck Club or Amsterdam's canals from the perspective of The Diary of Anne Frank. Get your kids' imaginations going by encouraging them to search for other locations from books they've read or locations they've heard about in the news. Talk about how it feels and what it means to see the world from someone else's perspective. If you get really ambitious, consider adding your own 360-degree image to the site: Watch the tutorials as a class, and come up with a local site or landmark to photograph and post to the site. Think about which caption text you'll include and how it can tell the story to strangers from around the world.Continue reading Show less
360Cities is a website that features 360-degree images from sites around the world. To browse the thousands of photos on the site, you can look through featured images, explore a tagged Google Map, or search by tags. Each entry features a high-resolution image of a place; various buildings, churches, cityscapes, and markets are common subjects. Since the site is composed almost entirely of user-generated content, there are also detailed instructions for how to take your own panoramic photos and how to upload them -- and potentially license them -- through the site.
360Cities wasn't created as a tool for learning, but it could certainly make a cool addition to a variety of lessons. It's exciting and engaging to explore these photos: You won't quite feel like you're really there, but you can gain extraordinary insight and perspective as you immerse yourself in these spaces. It's also exciting for kids to see how these citizen geographers might make money from their work: The site features tons of information about how to take one of these panoramic photos, plus how to post and license your work. For most kids, exploring these endlessly detailed, incredibly engrossing images should be enough. For others who want to learn about sharing -- and being compensated for -- their art, the site can be a terrific resource. None of this information is rocket science, but kids might not encounter this kind helpful advice anywhere else.
Overall, 360Cities won't teach your students anything in particular on its own, but with some thoughtful lesson integration and a little advance planning, it could be a cool addition to your teacher toolkit.
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