Website review by James Denby, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2020

Roundme

Virtual tour library and creation site has limited classroom utility

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Grades
3–12
Subjects & Skills
Science, Social Studies, Creativity, Character & SEL

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Pros: Wide variety of content. Easy to explore and find content by geographic location.

Cons: Much of the content isn't necessarily useful in the classroom. The quality varies quite a bit, and isn't vetted for learning quality.

Bottom Line: Tours have some potential for experiential learning, but the consumer focus means it'll take more work to find them and integrate them in the classroom.

Roundme presents teachers with a few options. The simplest is to explore the virtual tours already available on the site and use them to enrich learning. Studying ancient civilizations? Have students search Roundme's world map to find a virtual tour of ancient sites like the Acropolis. The virtual tours -- which offer beautiful, high-res, navigable imagery -- can add a little extra perspective on the distant past. Some also include background info, but the accuracy and detail of these can vary.

Teachers with more time -- and a cache of panorama photos -- can create virtual tours by stringing together their photos and adding info blocks to offer context. Live in NYC or traveling there? Take some pics of Harlem and build a a virtual tour of the neighborhoods that spawned some of the most innovative art of the 20th century. Want students exploring some hyper-local history? Get out in your community -- maybe even organize a field trip with your students -- and build tours of local points of interest. Of course, students can also use Roundme for projects and presentation. The free account allows 15 uploads per week, so students can create tours to highlight community issues or document community events too.

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Roundme is a website designed for fast, easy exploration and creation of virtual tours that use 360 degree panoramic photos. Though not created for the classroom, Roundme offers potential classroom applications for both teachers and students. Creators can upload their panoramic photos (15 per month with a free account) to create beautiful, immersive experiences that allow viewers to explore indoor and outdoor spaces in rich detail. Their library of existing tours -- submitted by a robust community of Roundme creators -- can also be browsed and explored. Teachers and students can search for and filter these tours and use them as sparks for discussion or extensions of content. Community tours get curated into themed collections -- including an Editor's Pick section of the best of the best. Classrooms might also enjoy browsing tours via the world map, diving into regions related to an area of study.

There's also a mobile app, but it's just for browsing tours.

Roundme isn't aimed explicitly at formal teaching or learning, but teachers use the site to add an extra experiential layer to their curriculum. Just don't expect the added learning of something specifically meant to connect to learning content like Google Expeditions or even Google Arts & Culture. While Roundme has high-quality visuals, and tons of different tours from the historic to the mundane, their usefulness for learning can be hit and miss. 

For example, the tour of the Acropolis in Athens has points of interest and info that'd be useful in teaching about ancient Greece. However, the Berlin Wall Memorial tour doesn't offer much more than an image, leaving much more up to teachers. The curation of Roundme content is also lacking. While there are some collections that match with a typical teacher's interest (e.g. Museums of the World) the majority are more general (e.g. Paris). These latter more general collections could prove useful, but they require more work to adapt and contextualize. 

Having students create virtual tours offers the greatest learning potential. With the free account option, older students could take their own panoramic photos and upload up to 15 images per week to document their local community's culture and history. 

Overall Rating

Engagement

There's definitely potential to add an experiential layer to content-area learning, if teachers put in the work to find the good stuff. The tours themselves can be novel (or mundane) and there's a ton of them.

Pedagogy

Creative teachers could adapt some of the tours to give students a window into important or content-connected places. Creation of tours is unlikely since it requires students to have panorama photos.

Support

Most people will find navigating the site and the tours quite intuitive. For those who don't, there's a simple support guide. 


Common Sense reviewer
James Denby Educator/Curriculum Developer

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